WESTAMPTON - Burlington County officials held a ceremony yesterday at
the county Animal Shelter to mark the completion of a nearly two-year
expansion and renovation project designed by Garrison Architects of
The shelter never closed during construction, but the ceremony was treated
as a grand opening because the $2.2 million project more than doubled
the size of the facility to 14,500 square feet.
The original space at the more than 30-year-old shelter on Academy Drive
in the county complex off Woodlane Road was also renovated. The shelter
serves all 40 municipalities in the county.
"I am thrilled to see the completion of this expansion," said
Freeholder Dawn Marie Addiego, who serves as the Board of Freeholders'
liaison to the county Health Department, which administers the shelter.
The shelter now has space for 100 dogs and 240 cats, up from the 50
and 144, respectively, that could be housed before the expansion. The
facility also has an in-house clinic for spaying and neutering and a
new multipurpose classroom that will be used for educating people who
adopt pets from the shelter.
The heating and air-conditioning systems were upgraded, and an animal
exercise yard was installed. The yard can also be used during emergencies
to house animals evacuated from private homes. "It's just going
to do so much for the animals," said Pat Kelly, a member of the
Burlington County Animal Alliance, an all-volunteer animal advocacy
organization. "We are thrilled."
The expansion was started by the freeholders in October 2004. Earlier
that year, animal advocates had pressed the board to make improvements
at the shelter to allay their concerns about overcrowding and the too
frequent use of animal euthanasia.
Bob Gogats, the county's public health coordinator, praised the staff
and public for remaining patient throughout the project. He said keeping
the shelter open during construction may have been more difficult but
it was better for the animals.
"Their care was constant and it was good," Gogats said.