Some of Canada’s political leaders joined some of Ottawa’s furriest citizens today for the official grand opening of new Ottawa Humane Society.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson joined Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen for the grand opening, along with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
“This new facility will help the OHS continue to protect the welfare of Ottawa’s animals. We are proud to help make this project a reality,” said Baird.
The Society received $3.6 million from the City of Ottawa and $500,000 from the Province of Ontario to help fund the $12 million building. At the grand opening today, an anonymous donor contributed a $1.5 million contribution.
“That means our building campaign is over and we have achieved our goal for the building,” says Mandy Chepeka, manager of communications for the Ottawa Humane Society.
The new facility, located at 245 West Hunt Club Road, is almost three times as big as the previous located at Champagne Avenue, west of Preston Street.
The 40,000 square foot facility will have the capacity of 80 dogs and 400 cats at one time, says Chepeka.
The facility also will provide group housing for cats, she says.
“It lets them behave like cats,” says Chepeka. “Previously they were in individual kennels crates.”
Potential adopters were also considered in the design of the new building. The adoption centre will have private areas for adopters to speak with staff and become acquainted with their new friend.
“The adoption area in the old facility had no privacy for the public to hold a private conversation with staff. It was overcrowded not only in terms of animals, but also with space for the public,” says Chepeka.
The previous shelter was designed to see only 2,500 animals per year, but ended up having to see upwards of 11,000 per year.
There simply was not more room, says Chepeka.
“There were cat cages in the hallways. All of the small animals were kept either in a room that was once a closet, or in the hallways.”
The new Ottawa Humane Society will be able to see approximately 13,000 animals per year and will feature plenty of outdoor spaces, higher quality ventilation system and a new training centre, which will host community events and training classes.