Change is in the wind for a 30-year-old animal shelter in Central Florida. And a great deal of the credit for that goes to animal activists in the community that shelter serves.
In October 2016, acting on letters and calls from citizens asking for better care for the animals at Orange County Animal Services in Orlando, Florida, Orange County Commissioners met to discuss the lack of air conditioning and resulting high temperatures in the dog section of the shelter.
With no air conditioning in that area, the ancient fans, when they’re working, just push around the hot air. Not the ideal situation for the animals or potential adopters. Last summer, records show that temperatures were in the 90’s in that part of the shelter. On the average, this ‘open admission’ shelter takes in 50 animals per day, and those numbers may double during the summer months.
The County started listening to the advocates, and, just four months after their initial discussions, improving the shelter is slated to become a reality.
In February, Commissioners approved spending 1-point-1 million dollars on the current facility. $350,000 of this will be set aside to improve the ventilation system, with construction slated to be completed by summer 2017. They are already taking bids on the project! There are also plans to expand the outdoor play area as well as the area where many cats are housed.
And even bigger changes are just over the horizon. Over the past few years, a number of plans, including renovating the current facility, remodeling and opening an additional location, or relocating some of the animals to a different building had all been discussed in an effort to expand services for the growing community. When Commissioners voted in February to upgrade the cooling system, they also started discussions about building a NEW shelter! The plan is to build on the current site, possibly in 2020.
At the time of the February meeting, Christopher Hunter, Director of Health Services Department, stated,
“We have the support of our Mayor and the board, and we hope to, in next several years, build a new shelter that really will accommodate the needs of what our shelter’s become.”
In 2016, OCAS was awarded “Outstanding Agency of the Year” from the Florida Animal Control Association. Despite the lack of renovation inside the kennels, through upping their awareness in the community, devoted volunteers and a boost in rescue partnerships, the shelter has managed to increase adoption numbers over the past several years, while keeping adoption costs down. All the animals pictured here are adoptable at OCAS, at 2769 Conroy Rd., Orlando, FL. The phone number is (407)836-3111 – click here or on their photos to see more!
Of the plan for a new shelter, Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs says, “it takes the whole board, but the board has been extremely supportive.” Not only a board, Mayor Jacobs – it takes a village!