Animal Welfare League Plans Open House Saturday

Pictured is the exterior of the new Animal Welfare League building. The open house is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to view the building, as well as to ask questions. Photo by Jackie Gorski

PIERCETON – The Animal Welfare League will have an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to show off its new building.

The new building is located 1048 S 325 E, Pierceton, IN 46562

The building cost $2.2 million to complete in construction alone, according to Katey Wilks Zemen, executive director of the AWL. The new building broke ground in November, so it took a little under a year to complete.

1st Source Bank financed the endeavor, but that was just so construction wouldn’t have to stop while the AWL waited on donations to finish the building. The AWL plans on having what the bank financed paid off by the end of the year.

“What we get for that $2.2 million is unbelievable,” Wilks Zemen said.

During the open house, the animals will not yet be moved into the new building. The purpose of the open house is to showcase the building and its features and give the public a chance to ask questions.

The animals at the old AWL will be moved in Sept. 23. In order to do this, the AWL will be closed for five days. During the transition,  the league will not take any strays or intakes, Wilks Zemen said, but they will accommodate emergency intakes.

The grand opening of the new building will be Sept. 28, when the animals will be in the building and available for adoption.

Adoption fees are $160 for puppies under 9 months of age, $130 for dogs over 9 months of age, $105 for dogs over 6 years of age, $90 for kittens under 9 months of age, $70 for cats over 9 months of age and $60 for cats over 6 years of age.

Wilks Zemen stated there is a reason the AWL built a new building instead of renovating the old one.

“In the old building, we spend all of our time surviving,” she said.

One example Wilks Zemen cited was that when an animal was brought in, staff would have to move things around in order to make room.

If the old building was renovated, Wilks Zemen said, the AWL would be seeing the same issues. With the new building, those problems don’t exist.

“We have doubled our capacity,” Wilks Zemen said. “We currently serve roughly 1,600 animals a year, but we have to put a cap on it because that’s all we have the ability to do. So now we can double that.”

Some of the other improvements that the new building provides is four HVAC systems, an underground flushing system and four cuddling rooms where the old building has two, Wilks Zemen said.

Rooms include a transition/hold room, where sick or aggressive animals are held while they get their required vaccinations or get well, she said.

“People think that when we get animals, they’re immediately ready for adoptions,” Wilks Zemen said. That’s not the case. Some animals are not spayed or neutered or are sick. They are kept in the transition that room until they are vaccinated, spayed/neutered and healthy.

Other rooms include an education room, an examination room, a kitchen and a lobby where people can come in and fill out the application for adoption.

“We designed the building like a hospital,” she said, also stating that she hopes other animal welfare buildings use their blueprints as an example.