Humane Society feels urgent need for new facility
The Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS) is feeling the urgent needs of our community now more than ever before. With a rapidly growing population comes an exponential increase in the number of stray dogs and cats coming to the Animal Centre in need of medical intervention and shelter.
“Currently, our building is not suitable as a facility to keep up with the volume of animals or the demand for our services. Pressure for space to safely deliver programs and services for pets and people mounts”, says Sonya Reichel, Executive Director of the GTHS.
The GTHS serves the Town of Collingwood, Clearview Township, the Town of Wasaga Beach, the Municipality of Meaford, Grey Highlands Township and the Town of the Blue Mountains. As those communities have grown, so has the demand for pet services. Over recent months, the number of stray dogs coming into the Animal Centre is growing beyond the volume that is sustainable in the current Animal Centre.
The current facility on Tenth Line was built in 2007 and is 6,000 square feet. It was designed for about 500 animals. Last year alone, the organization took in 1,400 homeless animals and facilitated upwards of 1,200 adoptions.
Simultaneously, pet owners are struggling to keep up with raising costs and housing insecurity. Demands for accessibly priced vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries and emergency medical support are at an all-time high. The Humane Society offers programs and services to help keep pets with their families during emergencies and crisis – in 2022 supporting over 3000 pets to stay out of the shelter system.
Since the launch of the GTHS Pet Pantry Service in 2020, over 1500 meals have been delivered, a 105 per cent increase being observed in 2022 over 2021.
At the moment, the GTHS cannot continue to sustain operations in the current facility. Cats and dogs are recovering from surgical care in hallways, dogs are in crates in the garage, private conversations with clients in distress occur in public lobbies. The 13 dog kennels that we have are starting to deteriorate and parking is dangerous for both clients and team members.
The GTHS is currently in the midst of a $14.8 million dollar fundraising campaign for its new Regional Centre for Pets and People. $3.5 million has been raised to date and a property to build on has been purchased on Sanford Fleming Drive in Collingwood.
“Community outreach services are also in high demand. There are extensive waiting lists for spay and neuter services offered to members of our community at reduced rates (to increase accessibility to affordable vet care). We are also hearing from an increase of community in need of emergency medical care when a crisis hits a family for their pet, over the last two years, we have seen a 40% increase in the need of pet parents in emergency situations”, Reichel explains.
“At the moment, we cannot continue to sustain operations in our current facility. Cats and dogs are recovering from surgical care in our hallways, dogs are in crates in the garage, there is no private space to counsel people through emergency situations. Parking is largely unavailable for clients and volunteers. Our HVAC system needs to be replaced immediately”, she adds.
Based on feedback from our community and donors, combined with a rapidly growing population, we have identified the need for a better future, embarking on a project to build a new Regional Centre for Pets and People.
The new Animal Centre will allow us to facilitate increased adoptions, offer hope and wellness to more seniors and youth at risk, perform three times the number of surgeries and impact more lives than ever before. It will be a resource for our community.
This facility will be an essential community resource that will open its doors in 2025.
“We are excited to talk to community members about this essential project for our community and the wellness it will bring to pets and people. Our team can be contacted at email@example.com.
Contributed photo: A pup wakes up after surgery in a make-shift recovery room in the garage at Georgian Triangle Human Society.