The Capital Area Humane Society is about to get a huge upgrade, providing better living spaces for animals and easing adoptions. Julia Willson, CEO and president of the shelter, said the capital campaign to raise funds for the shelter’s updates is down to the last push.
Willson said major facility updates for the shelter, at 7095 W. Grand River Ave. in Lansing, have been in the works since 2013. The first phase, completed in 2017, previewed the kind of success future updates will have for the animals.
Director of community relations Penny Myers said these changes included a renovated adoptions area, front desk, retail space, better airflow systems, behavioral training rooms, isolation centers for sick animals, prep spaces and more.
Sue Karr said the first phase helped usher in a new system and created a better setup. As a volunteer, Karr said the animals are well taken care of.
“If an animal is comfortable, it’ll show,” said Karr.
While the animals’ basic needs are now being met, improvements can help improve the shelter and reduce stress for them. Myers said the next phase of updates will include some behind-the-scenes functional improvements and major enhancements to the dog and puppy adoption area.
Dogs and puppies are currently sheltered inside large kennels in an open room. The flooring is no longer optimal, with decay creating more potential for diseases. Additionally, noise makes the environment stressful.
“It’s not currently a desirable place,” Willson said.
When people come in looking to adopt, they are influenced by the atmosphere. Myers said people tend to think of shelters as sad places. The jail-like feeling influences not only the adopter’s perception of how the animals are taken care of, but also whether they choose to adopt from the shelter. The renovations will make the puppy and dog room a friendlier and more open space, creating a better atmosphere for animals and adopters alike.
“Hopefully it’s somewhere you can come in and smile,” said Myers.
For updates as extensive as phase one, the shelter must first raise enough money to fund construction. Karr said she believes the shelter has the potential to give back to the community even more with these enhancements.
Funded solely by donations, the shelter has served the Lansing community for more than 85 years. In that time, Willson said the shelter has changed the trajectory of what such places can do, giving animals the best possible care and consistently innovating ways to improve that care.
Projects as extensive as these would not be possible without the overwhelming support of the local community, said Myers. As a locally funded shelter, CAHS doesn’t have government affiliations and relies on generosity. The shelter has raised more than $2 million, leaving $500,000 remaining toward the $2.5 million goal. Visit the Capital Area Humane Society’s capital campaign website to learn more about the mission and where to donate.