Letter from the Director: A Grand Re-Opening of the Wake County Animal Center

The Wake County Animal Center has been under construction forever! Well…not forever…but it seems like it. Construction began back in December and we are nearing completion. This six month, half million dollar renovation is the culmination of many ideas to enhance the Animal Center for the animals that stay with us. So, what do all of these renovations include?

Well, the major project…and I do mean MAJOR…was the rebuilding of a room to New DQaccommodate our quarantine dogs. This include dogs that are with us for bite quarantine, on protective custody due to a cruelty case, owner eviction or maybe the owner passed away and we are holding the dog for their family. Dogs also housed in this area are the dogs waiting to be transferred to a rescue partner. We needed to expand the space for these dogs as we only had 30 kennels dedicated to them and we were always overflowing into other areas. We now have 46 kennels with individual drains (great for infectious disease control) and safety measures built in for staff handling quarantine dogs. We also widened the aisles to ease the stress of dogs being moved through the area. The interior of this kennel space had to be knocked down to the ground and rebuilt. It took 3 long months but when it was completed, it was gorgeous. The best part? The dogs that reside in this area are quieter and appear less stressed than in the room they previously lived in.

Our construction also focused on sectioning off areas in ourNew Cat Intake Receiving Room to separate dog intake from cat intake. By separating these areas, cats are no longer held where dogs are and therefore their stress levels at intake are decreased (and for those of who don’t already know this, feline URI increases when their stress increases). All of their intake procedures, including vaccination, scanning for microchips and deworming are now done in their own private room.

The next part of the renovation was the upgrade of our dedicated space for treatment of canine URI. We now have a permanent room of 30 kennels for housing dogs with URI. The doors on these kennels were changed out to include “buffers” to keep the dogs from sneezing on each other across the hall. We also have the ability to walk these dogs during their URI treatment outside since they have a separate entrance and exit away from the rest of our population. Since our vet staff has been so diligent in diagnosing and treating URI, we have not yet had to fill up this room – which means the dogs have had the luxury of double sided kennels!

Finally, probably the most exciting part of the renovation (at least to me!), is the addition of a Behavior Room. We had a courtyard that was not used and we have seen the need for a dedicated space for behavior testing, working with protective custody dogs and a space for our transfer partners to come and assess dogs. We transformed the unused courtyard space into an enclosed Behavior Room. I see this room being used daily, especially as many of our team members are getting certified as SAFER assessors. (This part of the construction will be finalized mid-end of May … so pictures are to follow!)

The remaining parts of the construction project have included new flooNew Front Lobbyring, new paint
(good-bye 80s mismatched color scheme!), upgraded security and other needed repairs. The final touches have yet to be done, but will be coming soon!! (Hint, hint … it includes photography by our very own, Mary Shannon Johnstone, and her Landfill Dogs!)

Thank you to all of our volunteers, fosters, transfer partners and staff who have been so patient, helpful and understanding during this time of transition. Also, to all of our visitors who have seen construction men, half completed doors and heard all of the noise associated with large construction projects, thank you for your patience and for still coming to visit our animals.

Spaying and Neutering Saves Lives and Improves Unwanted Behaviors

The Kittens Are Coming
Kitten season is coming. To you, that means lots of fuzzy, sweet, tiny, adorable kitties. To image (1)us at Wake County Animal Center, that means lots of special needs babies that require extra attention, late night feedings, and LOTS of love and care to see to it they safely transition into healthy young cats.

Unfortunately, pet overpopulation is an epidemic with two causes: animals being bred for profit, and animals who are purchased and later left behind at local shelters. The Humane Society of the United States estimates “about 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs—about one every 11 seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year.”1  In addition, the American Humane Association states, “7 to 20 percent of pets entering a home are no longer in that home six months after acquisition. These animals often end up at shelters, contributing to the pet ‘overpopulation’ issue.”2

So Many Animals, So Few Homes
The sad reality is that there are just too many animals and not enough good homes for all of them. Despite the overcrowding at shelters across the county, breeders (good and bad) continue to breed animals for profit. Spay/neuter is a proven way to reduce pet overpopulation, ensuring that every pet has a family to love them.

Your Pet’s Bad Behaviors Could Be Fixed With Routine Spay/Neuter
Spaying—removing the ovaries and uterus of a female pet—is a veterinary procedure that requires minimal hospitalization and offers lifelong health benefits. Neutering—removing the testicles of your male dog or cat—will vastly improve your pet’s behavior and keep him close to home.

Here’s our handy Top 10 list of reasons to spay or neuter your pet:

  1. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.
    Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
  2. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male.
    Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
  3. Your spayed female won’t go into heat.
    While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!
  4. Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home.
    An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
  5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved.IMG_20140423_184714
    Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
  6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
    Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
  7. It is highly cost-effective.
    The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
  8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
    Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
  9. Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.
    Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
  10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
    Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

Low Cost Spay & Neuter Programs Near You
The Humane Society of the United States offers guidance on low-cost spay and neuter programs in communities across the country. We also provide more local resources for low-cost spay and neuter. Have your female pet spayed and/or your male pet neutered—it will save countless lives.

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  1. The Humane Society of the United States:  http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/#.U1hJmPldUWI
  2. The American Humane Association:
    http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/issues-information/pet-overpopulation.html