By Matt Clevenger
TROY — A new non-profit organization, Miami County Partners for Animal Welfare (MCPAW) has been formed to help raise funds for a new Miami County Animal Shelter facility, starting with a $250,000 surprise donation from the Miami County Commissioners.
“The $250,000 ARPA fund contribution was unexpected, and a wonderful way to kick-off our capital campaign,” MCPAW founding president Heidi Scribner said.
The donation was announced during the annual State of the County address held in the Bravo Room at Hobart Arena on Friday, Feb. 1.
“They completely kept that a surprise from me,” Miami County Animal Shelter Director Robert Craft said. “The commissioners have been tremendously supportive throughout this whole process. They’re very committed to seeing this project through.”
“I think that kind of speaks for itself, that they’re very committed to this,” he said.
The existing shelter, located on North County Road 25A, was built in 1971.
“It’s more than 50 years old,” Craft said. “When the existing shelter was built, the way they handled dogs in those days was much different than the way that a no-kill shelter operates in today’s world.”
The animal shelter took in a total of 551 dogs in 2022, Craft said, and 276 dogs were returned to their owners. The shelter had 274 dogs that were available for adoption in 2022, and of those 231 were adopted.
The shelter took in 372 cats during 2022, he said, and of those five were returned to their owners. A total of 353 cats were available for adoption, and 345 of those were adopted.
“We have a total of 30 regular kennels that have outside access, and we have three kennels in our garage area,” Craft said. “Our max capacity would be 33 dogs.”
“We find ourselves quite often with more dogs than that, so we actually end up having to put pop-up kennels in our garage in order to house them all,” he said.
The current shelter building also lacks several important features that modern, no-kill shelters usually include.
“We’re not euthanizing dogs,” Craft said. “If they have an injury that is treatable, we treat those injuries now. In the past those dogs would have been euthanized.”
“We need more of an area where dogs can recuperate from different procedures that they have done,” he said. “Also, to have an area that would be designated for a veterinarian that could come in on-site and help us to do spays and neuters, and other minor procedures here at the facility; we don’t have any kind of a space here currently that would allow us to do that.”
“The current shelter is antiquated in almost every capacity,” Scribner said. “The structure itself is over 50 years old, and was not built to be a no-kill animal welfare building.”
The shelter is currently in the process of finalizing a contract with a consulting firm, Shelter Planners of America, that will help plan for construction of a new shelter building.
“They have a lot of experience in this area,” Craft said. “They’ll do a needs assessment for our specific area. Based on our population and other criteria, they will come up with a formula for how big a shelter they think we need.”
A new shelter building is expected to cost approximately $5 million to build, Craft said
“They gave us an estimate as to what they thought it would cost,” he said. “That’s a ballpark figure, between $4.5 million and $5 million is what we’ve been told.”
A location for the new shelter building has not been selected yet.
“The new shelter will most likely be in a different, more easily accessible location,” Scribner said. “There are a few location options being considered.”
“I cannot estimate when the shelter will be complete,” she said. “MCPAW intends to raise the funds needed in 18 months.”
“The biggest hurdle right now is the funding,” Craft said. “Once the funding is in place, then we’ll have a better idea as to when we can start.”
Scribner founded MCPAW in 2022, and the organization is run by a board of directors from the Troy, Tipp City and Piqua areas.
“MCPAW is an organization established by community members,” Scribner said.
“MCPAW has a fund established with the Troy Foundation, and donations can also be made through Paypal and Facebook as well,” she said. “We are grateful for every monetary donation we receive.”
“Corporations who are interested in being “early adopters” as supporters of our capital campaign are very welcome to contact me,” she said.
“We’re very grateful for any help that anybody can give,” Craft said. “It doesn’t matter how large or small, every little bit helps.”
“We cram a lot into a very small area, and try to make the best use of the space that we have,” he said. “We’ve just outgrown the current shelter.”