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County Breaks Ground on New Animal Adoption Center.

Animal-Lovers Celebrate Ground-breaking.

Montgomery County Officials break ground for the Animal Services and Adoption Center.

Montgomery County Officials break ground for the Animal Services and Adoption Center.

“At last” were the opening words of pride and relief from David Dise, director of the Montgomery Department of General Services who kicked off the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Animal Services and Adoption Center on Saturday, Jan. 27.

This was a day of celebration for the many in Montgomery County who have supported the vision for a new building. By the spring of 2013, they will see their hard work come to fruition.

The program included remarks by Isaiah Leggett, county executive; Roger Berliner, president of the Montgomery County Council, and Councilmember Phil Andrews. In speaking to the standing-room-only crowd, Leggett said, “I love ground-breaking ceremonies, but what I love more are ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Today, we are breaking ground for our new Animal Services and Adoption Center — and in just 20 months, we will be cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of the new center. Today is the beginning of a promise we made to build a better shelter for our animals. We always see and feel our animals’ devotion to humans. Now it is time to celebrate our devotion to animals.”

The state-of-the-art Animal Services and Adoption Center will be built on the northwest corner of the intersection of Muncaster Mill Road and Airpark Drive. The 49,160-square-foot center will expand the county’s ability to safely and hygienically care for animals. It will also serve as a public adoption center and community education resource for animal care issues.

Leggett explained why, during tough economic times for Montgomery County, the shelter is being built: “This past year, the Montgomery Police received 12,500 animal related calls and the Humane Society facilitated ,2800 adoptions. Our current shelter was built in 1975. It can only house 700 animals and is old and inadequate.”

He continued, “This new shelter reflects our values. If we cannot find the resources to build a first rate shelter for our animals, then shame on us.”

Berliner explained that Montgomery County has doubled in population in the 37 years since the last center was built. “Our county is now one million residents — and that makes many more animals that the county must provide facilities for.”

The center will be operated by the Montgomery County Police Department Animal Services Division, which provides isolation, quarantine and holding of feral, ill or seized animals; investigates complaints about animal cruelty and provides the licensing and inspection of animal-related business facilities such as pet shops and riding stables. The building will include animal care and housing areas, a classroom and an on-site veterinary clinic. Walking trails and outdoor screened exercise runs will provide animals, owners and volunteers with access to fresh air and exercise.

The “green” building will achieve a LEED Silver certification by incorporating environmentally sensitive design elements, including skylights, large windows, a vegetation-covered roof, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and energy-efficient building HVAC design and use of recycled and locally manufactured materials.

Allen Cohen of MCPAW (Montgomery Couty Partners for Animal Well-Being) wrapped up the morning by discussing the non-profit’s fund-raising goals which will provide much-needed enhancements for the center. MCPAW’s “Build Hope” initiative provides brick pavers and benches for recognizing someone important in one’s life. An engraved message will let the buyer show their support — or their company’s support — for the well-being of animals as well as create a lasting tribute to friends, family and beloved pets.

Susan Belford

The Almanac