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Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley nears 90 percent of fundraising goal for new quarters

July 15, 2018
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Ryan Thompson, a staff member at Animals Protectors of Allegheny Valley takes Amelia, a 1-year-old Pit Bull Terrier on the lawn at Animal Protectors' current location on Saturday, July 14, 2018 in New Kensington. Their capital campaign recently reached 89% of the project goal for a new shelter and upgraded facilities.

Fundraising efforts for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley’s new 14,000-square-foot facility have been paying off, but more money still is needed to help the New Kensington-based organization and the animals that it serves move into their new forever home.

“We had initially set a goal of $750,000, but the architect recently told me that with the increase in gas prices and also the new tariffs that we may need a little more than that,” said Phyllis Framel, board president and co-chair of the fundraising effort, known as the Building Our Future Capital Campaign. “We’re continuing to fundraise and hopefully get this project going.”

The 52-year-old nonprofit, which provides rescue and adoption services for cats and dogs, held a small event Saturday to announce that it had raised nearly 90 percent of the money needed to fix up its new facility at 730 Church St., in New Ken’s Parnassus neighborhood, and let the public know that renovations are under way.

“Construction started on Monday,” Framel said.

Renovations include bringing the building up to code, adding medical treatment and isolation areas for sick pets, a retail store, grooming room, laundry area, meet-and-greet areas for potential adopters, a “catio” for cats, separate areas for young and adult animals, and a small indoor training area.

In the future, the organization hopes to add an education center, where people can hold birthday parties and host events.

“Just knowing that that is in our future is very exciting,” said shelter manager Gwen Snyder.

The anticipated move-in date is by next summer.

The shelter’s new building on Church Street is three times larger than its current one on Linden Avenue. The group says it will provide better living conditions for the animals, better working conditions for shelter staff and volunteers, and a more welcoming experience for visitors.

Snyder said some of the biggest challenges the shelter is facing in its current location are space and medical care.

For example, Snyder said, the front office fills a variety of roles. It serves as her office, the adoption office, and is also an exam room for the animals.

“Our med room is so small that there’s not room for our medical coordinator, and the vet, and an animal in it,” she said. “We don’t have proper medical facilities. There’s no running water in the med room, so they’re always running out to other areas. That will be a huge difference.”

Another big change will be the indoor meet-and-greet areas for potential adopters. In the current facility, people have to meet with dogs outside, which can limit potential adoptions during the winter months or in the fall, when the shelter has evening adoption hours.

The new facility will have two indoor meet-and-great areas, so people will be able to meet with the animals regardless of the time of year or the weather.

“That will definitely help us increase our adoptions,” she said.

Other benefits include better natural light and heating, ventilation and air conditioning, which reduces the spread of diseases.

Board Vice President Val DeSanto, who has been on the board for about 16 years, said she’s most excited about the animals’ new accommodations.

“They won’t be overcrowded -- we’re going to have space for them to move about better,” she said.

Framel said the support the organization has received from donors has been incredible, and every little bit helps propel the shelter toward its goal.

To date, 19 individuals have made commitments of $10,000 or more along with a sizeable bequest from a former donor, the organization said. The CBB Foundation also donated $50,000 in honor of Dr. Betsy Kennon, who volunteers professional veterinary services at the shelter.

“We welcome all donations,” Framel said.

Anyone interested in recognition opportunities or who wishes to donate to the renovation campaign or to the shelter’s day-to-day operations can contact Framel at 412-580-9976 or pframel@animalprotectors.net. For volunteer opportunities, visit AnimalProtectors.net.

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