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East County Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 1 year ago

New dog, and cat, house for Lakewood Ranch animal rescue

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Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch finds new home in Myakka City.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Tails are wagging at the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, and it’s for good reason.

The nonprofit has found a new home, closing Sept. 28 on a 5-acre property at 26920 Gopher Hill Road, Myakka City.

It has an 1,800-square-foot house as well as a separate 3,200-square-foot metal building, both of which will be used to house animals in the organization’s care. The house primarily will be used for administrative offices, while the extra building will be converted into an air-

conditioned kennel.

“The idea of being able to save maybe five times the number of animals as before is indescribable,” Humane Society Vice President Susan Giroux said. “It’s fantastic. That’s why we all do it.”

Humane Society President Deanna Murchie said the property cost $400,000, and the organization now is getting the permits it needs from Manatee County. That process should take about three months, Murchie said.

The new location will be able to handle 50 dogs and cats at a time, compared to about a dozen at its Trade Court location in the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park.

“Once we open, it’s a whole new beginning,” Murchie said.

Giroux said leaders found the location after a 16-month search, focusing initially in Lakewood Ranch.

“We looked everywhere in Lakewood Ranch. Everything was too expensive,” Giroux said. “We’d love to be in Lakewood Ranch, but we can’t afford it.”

Giroux said that will not pose a problem for the organization’s name. Lakewood Ranch and the surrounding area is still the Humane Society’s primary market for fundraising and adoptions. Plus, the Humane Society places most of its animals through websites like petfinder.com, so placing animals into homes is more about coordination than where the animal is housed.

The organization hopes to raise about $75,000 this year to put toward building renovations and other needs. That number, however, could change based on how quickly it can begin doing adoptions at the new facility.

“We’re still in the planning stages,” Giroux said.

As the facility reopens, the Humane Society is looking to hire a part-time shelter coordinator to focus on animals and volunteers, as well as a part-time marketing position.

For seven years, the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch operated at no charge out of Stanley Steemer’s location in Lakewood Ranch. Both Stanley Steemer and the Humane Society’s space needs grew, and the Humane Society began looking for a new home in early 2017. It moved out of Stanley Steemer in December 2017. It has been using a small space, enough for about five dogs, at Woofdorf Astoria boarding facility in Lakewood Ranch since that time. All other animals are kept by foster families.

For information about the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, visit hslwr.org.

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