Watauga Humane Society



Article Published: Nov. 25, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Watauga Humane Society


The funding is in place and the Watauga Humane Society is moving forward with construction of the new facility.

The shelter will be located off Don Hayes Road, near Rutherford Baptist Church, in Deep Gap. WHS owns the land and is the location of the dog park.

The facility will be nearly three times the size of the current shelter to house additional animals. The WHS partnered with the county in October to house animals picked up by the Watauga County Animal Care and Control department at the new facility.

Both WHS and animal control were operating in outdated facilities in need of replacement. The animal control facility does not meet the regulations of the state inspector. WHS shelter is built on a flood plain and subject to moisture issues.

WHS treasurer Lee Jessen said one office in the current building had to be closed and shut off due to a mold problem.

County officials made the decision after pricing a new animal control facility at $680,000. Instead, the county agreed to pay $400,000 on a new facility and $75,000 per year operating costs for the animals housed. These figures represent a reduction in the annual expenses of the animal control department.

"Our projections are the facility will hold all the animals, but the costs won't necessarily double," said WHS president Shaun Lundy. "It will bring down the cost we spend per animal and we'll have a more efficient facility. It's certainly good for the county and it's good for the community."

The total cost of the facility will be $2.35 million. Jessen said the organization has already raised, through grants and donations, more than half of the total. The remaining $1 million will be financed. He said the organization is still seeking donations to lower the bank obligation.

The new facility will be 17,000 square feet, with 14,500 of heated space. The current WHS shelter and office space is 4,152 square feet located on Casey Lane in Boone.

The Casey Lane location can house approximately 35 dogs and 45 cats, according to shelter manager Lynn Northup. The number varies due to litters that can share a kennel, or animals that get along sharing kennel space.

The new shelter will have increased capacity, with space for 60 each of dogs and cats.

The Don Hayes Road facility will have several features not available at the shelter. The plans provided by the architectural firm Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce show a surgical room, recovery area, holdings areas, office space, quarantine areas for both dogs and cats, receiving, adoption consultation office, a "get acquainted space" that allows potential owners a space for one on one interaction with a dog or cat, and a large conference room for training or to be rented out to the public.

Currently the site preparation, leveling of the ground to prepare for the foundation is underway. Recent wet weather has delayed the project, although the organization still plans a fall 2010 completion date.

The total cost of the facility will be $2.35 million. Jessen said the organization has already raised, through grants and donations, more than half of the total. The remaining $1 million will be financed. He said the organization is still seeking donations to lower the bank obligation.

To make a donation, contact the WHS shelter during regular business hours from Tuesday to Friday 12:30 to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12:30 to 5 p.m. or call (828) 264-7865. More information about WHS is available online at http://www.wataugahumanesociety.org.

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