March 17, 2013

New animal shelter opens

ELIZABETHTOWN — North Country SPCA has opened its new 3,200-square-foot shelter after 45 years of caring for thousands of animals in its cramped former site in Westport.

North Country SPCA is the only animal shelter in Essex County. Each year, it takes in more than 300 homeless, abandoned and abused cats and dogs.

Since it was founded in 1969, the no-kill shelter has helped literally thousands of abandoned animals find homes. 

Located about 4 miles east of Elizabethtown off Route 9N, the $1.6 million Frances Miller Adoption Center — named for the mother of one of the major donors — was constructed by the Bread Loaf Corp.

“Bread Loaf really went the extra mile for us and found ways to value engineer the shelter to help lower costs yet maintain our high standards for animal care,” said Patricia Tivnan, vice president of the SPCA Board and chair of the Building Committee.


The facility includes six “colony” rooms for up to 14 cats living together in large, light-filled spaces; two intake “condo” rooms for isolating 18 newly arrived cats; featured cat and dog rooms in the lobby; 10 dog adoption rooms, including three extra large for co-housing two dogs; five intake rooms for isolating newly arrived dogs; a get-acquainted play area for adoptive families; and a large multi-purpose room for working with dogs.

The 18-plus-acre site has seven outdoor runs for dogs, an 80-by-80-foot fenced play area and trails for dog walking.

SPCA Board member David Reuther located the land while perusing estate sales. It had previously been owned by Ray Manley, who operated a gravel pit on the property.

The shelter has numerous green features, including a high-performance, air-sealed, insulated building envelope; thermal windows with coatings to reduce energy loss; a design that allows future installation of photovoltaic or solar thermal panels; water-conserving faucets and flush valves; high-efficiency light fixtures, many with daylight or occupancy sensors; an exhaust air-recovery system from animal rooms that captures energy; and natural light, to improve health and well-being of the animals.

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