GNAW BONE, Ind. (WISH) — A major fundraising push is underway to build a new multi-million dollar animal shelter in Brown County.
Volunteers tell News 8 the current shelter is extremely overcrowded to the point it is hurting the animals.
While the kittens may paw and play in their crate in the lobby at the Brown County Humane Society, it’s not always fun figuring out where all the cats and dogs will go.
It’s a stressful time for animals too who are waiting on a forever home. And stress means sickness.
“The best way to prevent an upper respiratory infection is to keep them from getting stressed out,” said shelter manager Caity Robertson.
Robertson gave News 8 a tour of the shelter Wednesday afternoon.
The society’s 20 dog kennels are in one spot. There’s no place for shy dogs to be kept separated, or to separate sick dogs.
“It’s a real problem,” said Humane Society Treasurer Jane Weatherford. “You bring a sick dog here and everybody gets sick. We simply don’t have a place to put sick dogs.”
There’s no good place for prospective adopters to meet a dog either. Rain or shine or even snow, there’s just an outdoor yard with a fence and a picnic table.
The staff breakroom is also lacking, with just a chair and a tiny corner of a table in a very small hallway stuffed with supplies and the washer/dryer combo.
For cats, just a shower curtain separates recently captured strays from sick ones. There’s no place for them to go outside or explore for long indoors either.
“The new building has wonderful spaces dedicated to adopters meeting animals,” explained Weatherford. “Right now we are multi-purposing every room in this building. So in the new building, there will be dedicated space and it will make everybody’s job more efficient.”
The new building is slated to be more than twice the size of the current space, upgrading from about 4,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet.
The proposed location is next door on land the Humane Society already owns on State Road 135 near State Road 46 in Gnaw Bone.
“We’ve lived in this place for over 30 years but we’ve completely outgrown it,” said Weatherford.
More than $2.7 million of the $3.2 million goal has been raised already, thanks to big donors. But now the hardest work is likely ahead, with smaller donations needed to make up the rest.
“If our shelter didn’t exist, the county would have a real problem with excess animals. It would not be a healthy place to live,” said Weatherford.
The Board hopes to have the full amount raised by the end of the year. But site work could begin earlier than that.
If you’d like to help, from Thursday to Saturday, the Humane Society is hosting its annual Barn Sale which is one of its biggest fundraisers of the year for operating costs.