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Work on shelter to start in fall

Humane society hammering out plans for renovations in Maumee

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    A Toledo Area Humane Society animal care worker holds one of three Husky mix puppies at the Maumee shelter.

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A Toledo Area Humane Society animal care worker holds one of three Husky mix puppies at the Maumee shelter.

The Blade
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Just after it completed its 75,000th adoption in the shelter, the Toledo Area Humane Society is revealing some details of a new shelter in the works.

The Maumee organization purchased the former DirectBuy warehouse at 827 Illinois Ave. recently and plans to begin renovations this fall with the goal of opening the facility in the spring.

Executive Director Gary Willoughby said plans for the proposed renovations are still being tweaked, but the building’s lobby, office areas, and staff break room can be used as is. “That will keep our costs down and shorten the timing a little bit,” he said.

A cost estimate for the entire project is not yet available, but the humane society purchased the property and items inside the building such as office furniture and equipment, refrigerators, and vending machines for $970,000.

“A new facility will give this community resource the ability to provide a much higher quality of care for the animals in its charge, save more lives, and allow for additional educational opportunities to help create a more humane, caring, and responsible community free of animal abuse and neglect,” Teresa Beebe, board chairman, said.


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Mr. Willoughby said the organization is starting to hold meetings to set up a public capital campaign and has hired Aly Sterling Philanthropy.

“We’re at the very early stages, in the quiet stages of the campaign,” Mr. Willoughby said.

The previous owner of the warehouse had done a lot of work on the building to bring it up to date, such as adding a sprinkler system.

“They put a significant amount of money into the building that we won’t have to do,” Mr. Willoughby said.

The new location is only about 1.5 miles from the current shelter at 1920 Indian Wood Circle that the organization built in 1981.

The humane society will gain some much-needed indoor and outdoor space, moving from 10,000 square feet to 17,500 and from two acres to five.

Parking areas are also significantly larger, and a small parking area will be converted into a play area for the shelter’s dogs.

“And it’s very easy to add onto [the building] should we need it in the future,” Mr. Willoughby said.

The organization has been actively searching for a new spot for the last 9 or 10 months, he said.

It has outgrown the property at Indian Wood Circle.

“We’re handling a lot more animals, and how you house them has changed,” Mr. Willoughby said. “We have some employees in closets, and we don’t have enough isolation room for sick animals.”

While the new location will allow for expansion of all areas of the operation, the most notable difference will be in the spaces where animals that are not yet ready for adoption are housed and cared for.

Those include the veterinary clinic, quarantine areas for sick animals, and general holding areas as well as some office space.

“It’ll be a significant improvement over what we currently have,” Danielle Jones, the humane society’s director of marketing and development, said. “We can’t project how many more animals will be saved, but it’ll improve all of our programs and services.”

Contact Alexandra Mester:, 419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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