New animal facility opens

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kittens cuddle together in the new cat display area at the renovated Suffolk Animal Care Facility. A ribbon-cutting for the expanded building was held Tuesday.

The dogs and cats — and even a hamster — at the Suffolk Animal Care Facility must have wondered what all the fuss was about.

Dozens of people showed up to tour the renovated facility after the ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon. As visitors marveled at the modern look of the building and cooed over the pets in cages, the animals wagged their tails and meowed in an effort to attract a potential new owner.

“This is wonderful for the city, for the animals and for the friends who will support it,” City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn said.

Email newsletter signup

The project created more than 3,600 square feet of additional space in the shelter. The renovated facility has room for an additional 28 kennels, said Police Chief Thomas Bennett. The building now can house about 70 cats and 76 dogs.

New amenities include three “get-acquainted” rooms, where prospective pet parents can play with their furry friends. It also has new food preparation and grooming areas, examination rooms, a “cat condo” where felines can get exercise and a fenced-in outdoor area where dogs can stretch their legs. The puppy/cat display area now is set up more like a pet store, with windowed boxes rather than wire cages. In addition, all the kennels in the facility are new, as well as the flooring.

“If you were in there before, versus now, it’s amazing,” said Michele Thames, president of Suffolk Humane Society. “We hope to continue supporting everything they do here.”

Bennett said the new facility would benefit staff, the public and the animals. It will be easier to keep clean and safe because of separate rooms for sick and well animals, provide a better environment for staff and animals alike and possibly attract more potential pet adopters, he said.

Bennett thanked Suffolk Humane Society for the work they do promoting pet adoption in the city.

“We’re looking forward to many more years of working together to do what’s best for the animals in this city,” Bennett said.

As an opening gift, Target donated dog and cat supplies as well as a $100 gift card to the shelter during the ceremony.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said the opening of the renovated shelter is a welcome event.

“It’s been often said that you can tell a lot about a man by his treatment of animals,” she said. “This is something that has been long awaited.”

To see the new animal shelter, visit 124 Forest Glen Drive.