Humane Society plans for spring groundbreaking
The Lincoln County Humane Society is planning to break ground in the spring on a brand new animal shelter facility. The new building will be constructed in the northeast corner of the Lincoln County fairgrounds block at the corner of Sixth Street and Memorial Drive. About 30 trees have been removed from the corner in preparation for the building project.
LCHS is still in the midst of a capital campaign to construct the new shelter. They have raised about $532,000 toward their $700,000 goal.
“We want to get construction started as soon as it thaws in the spring,” said shelter manager Liz Friedenfels. “We’re hoping to get enough donations to finalize everything in the meantime. Assuming we have all the money by April, we could move in by August.”
The fund raising for a new building started three years ago.
“It’s amazing to get what we did in such a short amount of time,” Friedenfels said. “Every dollar is making a difference.”
The Lincoln County Board in April agreed to sell a corner of the fairgrounds in Merrill to the Humane Society. The Humane Society did look at other sites, but felt strongly that the current location was the best option, Friedenfels said.
The animal shelter has been located on the fairgrounds block since 1978, when a 50-year lease agreement originated between the county and the Humane Society.
LCHS now owns a 200×500-foot lot in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds. The lot has 500 feet of frontage on Memorial Drive and 200 feet of frontage on Sixth Street. The new LCHS property is directly north of the 200×300-foot lot they have leased from the county since 1978. When the new building is completed, the current shelter will be demolished and that lot will revert back to county ownership.
The current shelter building, constructed in 1979, has issues with ventilation, which causes illness to spread quickly among the animals. The new building will also offer easier access for dogs to get outdoors, increasing safety for staff.
The kennels and cages will be larger, but the capacity of the shelter won’t increase dramatically, Friedenfels noted. The additional space in the building will provide a quarantine area, community rooms for cats and a room for people to spend some private time with their prospective new pet. The new building will be L-shaped, facing into the fairgrounds, to minimize noise for the nearby residential areas.
The Lincoln County Humane Society takes in about 1,100 animals annually. Less than five percent are euthanized. This year, through November, the shelter has taken in 779 total animals. They have adopted out 458 cats and 135 dogs, while euthanizing a total of 16 animals. The vast majority of adoptions are to local families, while 44 cats and 13 dogs went to breed-specific rescue groups.