FOND DU LAC – A new shelter manager, a program for pets from victims of domestic violence and children who have read aloud to dogs and cats are all part of the new Fond du Lac Humane Society.

The community is invited to visit the shelter on February 16 and 17 to participate in the celebration of celebrating 50 years of homeless pets. The two-day event is also a soft feet & # 39; pre-grand opening of the new $ 1.8 million facility of the facility, which will be opened seriously at the end of March.

The celebration includes a live radio feed, vendors, snacks and lotteries, goodie bags for the first 50 participants both days, along with tours of the new building, located on Triangle Road.

Resident manager Renee Webb said that although the building is not yet ready to move in, visitors will be able to get a taste of what's in store for the 1,500 pets that they take in annually. Webb says that about 60 percent of the animals are stray animals and 40 percent the owner indulges.

"By simply walking through the facility and seeing the evolution of the structure, I think people will be surprised and get a good idea of ​​what a difference this will make in the way we can work," Webb said.

The center for the reception center will house independent kennels placed behind safety glass with their own drainage systems. The building includes an advanced air system specially designed for animal shelters, and there are special areas where visitors can meet pets and sick animals can be quarantined. There is also a large outdoor playground for pets and a larger parking lot.

The new shelter also provides short-term housing for pets that need help during domestic violence situations. Nicole Johnson, Director of Solution Center Shelter & Support Services at Fond du Lac, said that there are times when victims of domestic violence will not leave their abusers because they can not take their pets with them, or because they are afraid that an offender will be retaliatory and harm the pet that they leave behind.

The shelters of solutions serve about 200 people a year, help an additional 200 clients on an outreach basis and answer 1,000 crisis calls.

"As long as a person stays in the housing of the Solutions Center, their pets will be safe in human society," said Johnson. "We will transport these people and their families to visit their pets until they can move to a safe home together."

The Red Rover Foundation awarded a grant of $ 20,000 to launch the project in Fond du Lac. Johnson said they also sold calendars as fundraising and continued to raise money to help pay for pet food and medical needs.

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The old shelter manager says she is ready to change roles as soon as the new building is operational. A new manager will be sought as Webb focuses on fundraising, subsidy offers and directing the new programs, which also include a partnership between humane society and the Fond du Lac School District, where students are read to pets .

"I am ready for a change and I look forward to getting all these new initiatives up and running," Webb said.

A bit of history

Fond du Lac Humane Society was founded in August 1968, with the aim to close the existing dog dog. It first worked as a telephone placement service and emergency aid post, until a physical shelter was opened at 237 N. Hickory St.

A plan to build a new home on West Arndt Street in 1971 was thwarted when the neighbors protested. In 1973 it temporarily moved to 232 Auburn St. while volunteers raised funds for a new $ 80,000 shelter that was eventually built at 173 W. Pioneer Road.

When the hiding place could not make planned payments to the city that had borrowed $ 65,000, conflicts arose and by 1983, human society was $ 24,000 behind in loan payments. More problems came when the city council was planning to withhold the annual budget money from the shelter, which caused an uproar in the community.

The shelter was temporarily closed in January 1984, although 52 dogs and cats were still being cared for. A few weeks later, it reopened as a private shelter, but did not offer animal control for the city. Unresolved issues about costs and legal claims continued for years.

In 2007, a new board of humane society raised enough money to buy Margi's Pet Resort at the current location and to change it into the existing shelter.

Webb said that community support was generous this time and that more donations and volunteers are always needed.

"We are still in fundraising mode after discovering that the fencing of the kennel has deteriorated through years of use, and trying to raise an additional $ 250,000," she said.

More information is available at fdlhumanesociety.org.