The Idaho Humane Society gathered with supporters July 11th, 2017, to officially break ground on its new Overland Road animal care center, a 42,000-square foot facility that is scheduled to open in fall of next year and include an adoption center, veterinary medical center and humane education center.
The project addresses problems the Idaho Humane Society faces in its current Dorman Street location, which was built two decades ago under now-antiquated animal sheltering standards to accommodate pets only for short-term stays. The new facility will improve living conditions for animals sheltered by IHS, providing larger home-like enclosures that will keep shelter pets calm and healthy. Windows will bring sunlight to animal housing areas, and both dogs and cats will have access to the outdoors. Such habitat enrichment is especially important because an increasing amount of the Idaho Humane Society’s work involves providing training, socialization and medical care to animals that aren’t immediately “adoptable” when they arrive at the shelter.
“The high-density housing at our current location adds to the stress and terror experienced by sheltered pets, which have been taken away from familiar surroundings and families. This impairs their ability to thrive and avoid illness,” said Idaho Humane Society executive director Jeff Rosenthal. “Larger, more sanitary, more calming and more secure enclosures will keep the pets in our care healthier and provide us with more opportunities to preserve good behaviors and modify problem behaviors. It will provide an environment conducive to healing the sick and injured, and serve our need to maintain so many pets with special needs – whether behavioral or medical – for longer periods of time prior to adoption.”
The new facility addresses another pressing need for the Idaho Humane Society by increasing surgery, treatment and recovery areas that will provide high-quality, comprehensive medical care to homeless animals, injured strays awaiting reunification with their owners and pets belonging to low-income qualified clients who have nowhere else to turn. It will also expand the organization’s ability to train the next generation of caregivers through a partnership with Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
“Despite our efforts, many of the animals entering our shelter are still not spayed or neutered and there are also far too many owners in our community that face the heartbreaking choice of allowing their pet to suffer, euthanizing their pets or relinquishing them because they do not have the funds to pay for veterinary care,” Rosenthal said. “Demand from those with few or no other options to receive care for their pets greatly exceeds our current capacity to provide that service.”
Teaching younger generations about humane care for pets and safety around animals is a crucial component of the Idaho Humane Society’s mission – but one that is hampered by a lack of suitable space to host children, the physical hazards of the facility and a location inaccessible through public transport. The new facility will include an accessible classroom and outdoor spaces.
The Idaho Humane Society launched its Designed to be Kind capital campaign to build a new facility in spring 2014, after architects, engineers and local builders agreed that an overhaul to update the Dorman Street facility’s adoptable pet housing, grow the current veterinary medical center and improve the noise, air and water systems would not be economically feasible. The new, centrally-located facility at 8506 W. Overland Road will augment the existing shelter. The campaign has raised $11 million, allowing for construction to commence, and fundraising continues for the remaining $4 million needed to ensure that the facility is completed with all of its intended features. The principal architect firm for the project is CSHQA, and Petra, Inc., is handling construction.