A four-year project has finally come to fruition. The city of
Leavenworth has a brand new facility for housing stray dogs and cats
or those that have been turned in by owners who couldn’t care for
them.
The shelter was designed by an architect who specializes in
animal care facilities and it incorporates features that markedly
improve the quality of life of impounded animals as well as enhance
the adoption process. Since more than half are not reclaimed by their
families, these abandoned pets can have a renewed chance to be taken
in by loving families.
The shelter is a fine example of what happens when the well being of
the animals is made a higher priority. Everyone wins. The animals
are more content and develop greater potential for adoption. The
public sees a visit to the shelter as a positive, pleasant
experience and they adopt. Staff morale is better as euthanasia
diminishes and most adoptable animals are saved and eventually adopted
or rescued. The city saves the money it spends on the euthanasia
process.
The minute you walk into the building you become aware of some of the
great features that contribute to the user and pet friendly
atmosphere. It is quiet. Soundproofing has made it so that the
noise of barking dogs is not overwhelming. It is airy and bright with
lots of natural lighting from clerestories and sky light tubes.
Natural light is known to be important for all living things. It
helps orient to day and night periods and facilitates Vitamin D
absorption.
There is no unpleasant odor associated with the facility. The design
is such that cleaning and handling of waste is done in non-public
areas. Sophisticated air flow systems are integrated into the
building so that air is not shared from area to area. An important
benefit of this is that animals found to be ill — usually with
respiratory illness — are isolated into a special room and treated.
The air from this area is not disseminated elsewhere in the building
thus preventing the spread of airborne contagious illness.
Impounded animals are kept for four business days to give an owner
opportunity to reclaim them. After that time, the animal becomes city
property and is usually made available for adoption. Viewing areas
for these pets are in a main central atrium-like corridor just off the
lobby. On one side cats can been seen in their cages through a glass
window that is the back wall of each cage. The cats love this
arrangement. They always come to the window to play and attract the
attention of visitors. They even have a shelf to jump up onto for
naps.
Adoption dogs are on the right side of the corridor and are seen
through individual full length windows. They also make every attempt
to attract attention and impress visitors with their great beauty and
personality. Prospective adopters are given a chance to interact with
the pets in special “get acquainted” rooms, or in the case of dogs, in
outdoor play runs.
A few other features: Soothing music piped into the dog and cat
adoption rooms. Shaded outdoor runs for dogs. Large fenced play
yards for dogs. Some indoor/outdoor kennels so that dogs can spend
time outdoors at will during the day. This helps those who have a
strong instinct to be house trained so they do not have to soil
where they eat and sleep.
Visit the shelter and consider adopting one of the many wonderful
dogs, kittens and adult cats that are there waiting for a home. It is
on Third Street, off Marion, just behind Price Chopper. The hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.