Humane society raising funds for improvements

Rendering by Universal Design
A rendering of how the Dubois County Humane Society would look after phases one and two are completed. The organization is getting closer to completing its capital campaign fundraising goal for the first phase, which includes renovations to expand the cat space. The second phase would include a medical suite, more dog kennels, a reception area, office space and storage space.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

JASPER — The Dubois County Humane Society is planning to have more space to house and take care of cats.

The local organization is getting closer to its $160,000 fundraising goal to make that happen.

“We are always at capacity with cats,” Shelter Manager Kelly Eckerle said. “We’re rarely are in a position where someone can call us and we can take a cat. We always have a wait to get in.”

With the help of the community, the humane society has raised $100,000 of the $160,000. That money will be used to take what is currently the puppy room and make renovations so that it will become space for cats and cat kennels.

“Our capacity for cats is going to about triple,” Eckerle said. “We are going to get tons of relief. We are getting really nice basic kennels that do very well to isolate with a ventilation system that actually takes the air in their kennels out of the building. So it’s not only going to allow us to house more cats, but it’s also going to help it a lot of like disease control and smell that you find in the cat areas.”

Space for cats is phase one of the the humane society’s improvements goal. Space for dogs, like the puppies, will be part of phase two. The second phase will be an extension onto the east side of the building.

As for phase one, the humane society is starting to receive bids for the board to review. When the work starts depends on the cost of the bids as well as if enough money is raised to cover the costs.

Having that extra space for cats will help the organization and the community, Eckerle said.

“I get phone calls every day from folks that need help with cats that they found or that have been dumped on their property, but we’re so limited in what we can do,” she said. “So this is really going to make a huge difference in what we can do, not just for us but for the public as well.”

The current dog space is rarely at capacity, so puppies will still be accommodated, Eckerle confirmed.

“We’re pretty much never at a point where we’re in at capacity,” she said. “As a matter of fact, we’ve had a really hard time keeping our kennels full lately.” A couple of weeks ago, she went to Indianapolis to get some dogs from animal control “because nowhere closer to us even needed our help.”

With the phase two addition, there will be more dog kennels built, along with the medical suite. It will also include a reception area with a desk, office space, and a second story that will be used for storage.

“That is going to take much more work and will be much more costly,” Eckerle said. “But we’re really hopeful. The community has turned out really wonderfully, to get us to where we’re about to go on phase one. So we know that we’ll get there for phase two, too.”

The kennel that will be added will be used for puppy room purposes, nursing dogs, post-op surgery and recovery space for animals that have procedures.

“It really is just gonna be a game changer for us,” Eckerle said. “We spend upwards of $5,000 monthly on vetting. So if we can meet that end goal of doing that in-house, it really is going to be an amazing thing.”

It will help in the area of spay and neuter services and vaccines.

“We get calls every day of people looking for low cost spay and neuter and vaccines. And there’s just not a really concrete great option in this area,” Eckerle said. “So one day if we do have that medical clinic or a veterinarian or even someone that pops in weekly or monthly to do those clinics, it really could provide relief to the whole community.”

The humane society goes to a facility in Bloomington to get animals spayed and neutered. “That’s the most affordable we can do,” Eckerle said. “We actually load up our animals and drive them to Bloomington. It definitely is a huge undertaking.”

For vaccines and animals that have injuries, the humane society has a great vet tech on staff. But the organization hopes to have a veterinarian on site in the future, after the expansion is complete.

The humane society has a capital campaign website, https://www.aplos.com/aws/give/TheDuboisCountyHumaneSociety/building, where people can make donations. Checks can also be made out to the Dubois County Humane Society, with a note added that it is for the building fund. The society also takes cash at the facility. “Just let us know it’s for the building fund,” Eckerle said, “and we will allocate it appropriately.”

The changes the Dubois County Humane Society is looking to make are needs that have been there for years.

“It’s not just about having a really fancy humane society,” Eckerle said. “It’s about providing relief to people who need it, even outside of what we do.”

Information about the facility plans can be found at www.builddchs.org or on the Dubois County Humane Society’s Facebook Page. The humane society’s website is https://www.dubois countyhumane.org.




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com