Humane Society opens new facility
The much anticipated grand opening of Three Rivers Humane Society's new animal shelter and office was celebrated Sunday, May 13, with special guests.
At least 75 people attended the event and toured the new 5,600-square-foot building, which features 41 indoor kennels, and a secure indoor area for animal control officers to leave dogs after hours.
In addition to the kennels, the facility has a large reception area, adoption office, employee office, break room, bathroom, laundry area and a meet-and-greet room, dedicated to the late Russell Bird, a 27-year-old KTVZ weatherman, who died on April 5, 2016.
Bird did several stories on the shelter for the TV station, including one just three days before he took his own life. The shelter received about $60,000 in donations for the new facility in Bird's name.
His parents, Melinda Sue and Jim Bird, of West Chester Township, Ohio, flew out for the ceremony, along with Jim Bird's sister, Caroline Faber, from South Carolina, and Melinda's father — Russell Bird's grandfather, Ralph Winters, who drove by himself for four days, all the way from Cincinnati, Ohio, to attend the dedication.
"We are still moving in," said Drynan on Tuesday morning. "There's a lot of stuff in the old building that we're now transferring to the new building."
Jerilee and her husband, Steve Drynan, the executive director of Three Rivers Humane Society, are delighted with the new facility.
"We love people being able to go into the back and meet their dog in comfort," said Jerilee Drynan. "The dogs are less stressed; there's a lot less barking. They're inside with more stimulation, and people feel more comfortable visiting."
The Drynans, who took over operation of the Jefferson County kennels in the fall and winter of 2013-14, launched their fundraising drive for the new facility in January 2015. Initially estimated at $340,000-$350,000, the cost of the facility ended up at about $450,000, according to Steve Drynan.
Most recently, unexpected costs have included moving a fire hydrant closer to the facility, and installing a bioswale on the south side of the building, landscaped with native plants, to prevent runoff.
In 2017, the nonprofit shelter placed 1,023 animals, up from 900 the previous year. "We've had a lot of adoptions; we're up to almost 90 a month," said Jerilee Drynan.
Due to all the adoptions, on Tuesday, the shelter only had about 25 dogs, including some puppies, available for adoption.
"We had so many adoptions that we have lots of room, which is a nice problem to have," she said. "We can have upwards of two dozen strays brought in one week, and in another, not have any come in."
Three Rivers has six full-time staff members, including the Drynans, and 10 core volunteers. "We would love to have more — dog walkers, foster homes and general labor, people who want to come and clean and hug puppies," she said.
The facility, located at 1694 SE McTaggart Road and now handicap-accessible, with a new, 60-foot sidewalk leading up to the front door, is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.