Building a better dog house

By Mike Sever Record-Courier staff writer Published:

To raise the $250,000 needed for a new shelter, the APL has launched a "Wall of Friends" campaign, selling personalized bricks for $35 each, which will be placed in the wall of the new shelter. Each engraved brick has room for up to 18 letters or spaces on one line. An additional line can be added for $15.

The league, a private, non-profit organization, has been operating an animal shelter on East Lake Street near New Milford Road, but that facility has been inadequate for several years, and is now in need of expensive repairs, according to Gail Victory, an APL board member and chairman of the fundraising effort.

"The drains don't work and the roof is leaking," she said.

Instead putting more work into the old facility, APL would like to put money into a new shelter, Victory said. The cost of a new shelter, with a larger capacity, has been estimated at $250,000. The league has about $60,000 in its building fund.

The APL recently purchased land off South Prospect Street in Ravenna Township for the new facility.

"Plans are set, the land is purchased. We're good to go," Victory said.

So far its been slow going, Victory said. Only 41 bricks have been sold, and half of those were from people outside of Portage County, she said.

"I'm looking for any organization willing to help us sell bricks, she said. "We're selling bricks to individuals, but we also have a corporate brick program."

The league has put a plywood campaign thermometer on the site of the new shelter to track the total of funds raised.

When the APL will break ground "is all contingent on the money," Victory said.

The APL was chartered as a non-profit humane society April 15, 1955. The group first started keeping animals at their own home. Their first shelter was a barn on Infirmary Road. An offer from Paul Flechtner, then president of the APL, resulted in deeding of land adjoining the Flechtner's own on East Lake Street in Ravenna Township. The current shelter was built in large measure by volunteers and opened May 7, 1961.

The number of stray animals exceeded the capacity of the current shelter, so association members began planning for a larger shelter a few years ago.

Plans are to build a shelter that would hold up to 180 animals. The current shelter holds from 80 to 100 animals, depending on the type and size.

Because of the number of strays picked up, the APL shelter currently has a six-month waiting period to take in unwanted animals.

Plans for the new shelter as announced last October show a building encompassing nearly 7,000 square feet within its 50-by-122-feet bounds, with 43 dog runs and 39 cat runs plus 18 puppy cages. Each of the inside runs also would connect to 12-foot long outside runs.

Capacity could be as much as 145 animals single caged, or higher with litters of young, or double caging grown animals. Maximum capacity is expected at about 180 animals.

A two-story central core of service rooms would include a hospital room and adjacent wash rooms for animals and equipment, treatment and recovery rooms, a laundry, grooming room, and a feed storage room connected to a 768-square-foot food and equipment storage area on the second floor. Facilities for staff would include a shower in the restroom, allowing staff to clean up after working with diseased or dirty animals.

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