Delaware Humane Association move-in day underway

 (Charlie O'Neill/WHYY)

(Charlie O'Neill/WHYY)

Delaware Humane Association is continuing its move in to its brand new animal shelter. 

The new 13,000 sq. ft. shelter, a year long project, dwarfs the previous 8000 sq. ft. shelter. Once the move is complete the old shelter will be torn down to provide additional parking. 

DHA executive director Patrick Carroll has moved his office from a small house in the back to the offices in the new building. He’s hoping it will strengthen the bond between the workers and the administration. 

A more modern setting

Carroll has no doubts about the improvements the new building will bring. “The current building was renovated and it was renovated another couple of times. It isn’t the most logical flow. In fact, our medical department is really a hallway to somewhere else. So the big thing is about flow,” said Carroll. 

Though the construction process is still ongoing, the new shelter is already strikingly brighter and nicer than the other building. The multiple kennels are spaced out, instead of being in two rows down a long corridor like the old shelter. Each kennel room fits half a dozen dogs. Glass doors replace the chain links doors, making the kennels feel like less a prison and more like a temporary home.

It’s not just the dogs that get special treatment. Cats have a new look too. There are multiple free roaming rooms. They replace the single room provided in the old shelter. These rooms feature a screened-in porch for the cats. Carroll expects the increased space to positively affect the health of the dogs and cats and ultimately make them happier. 

Another new feature is the “get acquainted” room. There are 4 rooms set up for individuals and families to spend time with a prospective pet. 

“They can be a room where you just spend time with a dog or cat that you want to get to know, or we may want to feature a litter of puppies or a dog that hasn’t been moving,” said Carroll. He adds the goal is the make it easier to adopt an animal that has been here for a long time.

Hope for the future

“One of the big hopes I have is that more people will come here.  I think they will; I think there’ll be a buzz.  They’ll hear that, ‘Wow, Delaware Humane has a brand new building and it’s really beautiful and it’s a great place to go and adopt a pet; have you been there?  You should check it out.’”

Carroll also said that besides adopting a pet, people can help by volunteering at the shelter or donating to the continuing building fund. 

The animals all assumed their new living quarters on Tuesday. The new building is now open to the public. However, the full transition is expected to last into January. At that time, the society will have a more formal grand opening. 

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