A fresh start for Second Chance Animal Shelter

ARLINGTON - Construction has officially begun at the Second Chance Animal Center's new Arlington location.

At their groundbreaking ceremony, on Saturday morning, shelter board members and employees were joined by community members to commence the construction of the 10,000-square foot updated facility.

Second Chance's new location is being built by Naylor and Breen Builders Inc and is located along Route 7A in Arlington. The organization has plans to move to the new facility when it opens next year.

With shovels in hand and hardhats on their heads, a few of Second Chance's board members and employees got to dig into the ground on the site of the new shelter. A resident of Second Chance, a pit bull terrier named Tyson, also braced the cold and wind for the cause. Tyson came sporting a yellow hardhat that didn't quite stay on his head for the festivities.

Second Chance had been working on a quiet phase of fundraising for the new building, executive director Cathi Comar said. The organization looked to past and current supporters to help support construction. Saturday's ceremony made fundraising opportunities available to the public and attendees were encouraged to help spread the word.

"We're going to have a whole bunch of different ways that people can contribute to the new building at different levels," Comar said. "If you want to buy a memorial brick, we're going to have those available soon. If you want to buy a bench, we're going to have memorial benches."

The animal shelter is planning different fundraising events for out in the community. Comar said that they have been looking at different types of audiences for events. Although nothing has been confirmed yet, Second Chance has had thoughts about creating a benefit concert in collaboration with a local radio station. They've also been reaching out to local brewers to possibly organize a brewing fundraising event in effort to reach out to younger members of the community.

Comar said that he shelter has additionally reached out to local restaurants and yoga studios for more possibilities. Upcoming events and other announcements will be posted on their Facebook page and their website.

Currently, Second Chance is housed along Route 7A in Shaftsbury and has operated out of an old tavern since 1961. Plans for the new facility have been in progress for the past several years.

With the construction of the new animal shelter, Second Chance has plans to expand its community programs, such as its spay and neuter program and pet food pantry. They also are looking to improve the efficiency of the shelter and to improve animals' living conditions.

"The world of animal sheltering has changed a lot throughout the years," said Comar. "There's some pretty strict standards and protocols that we need to follow to ensure the safety and care of all the animals."

Although the new building will be larger, the number of animals that the facility houses will not expand. Instead, the shelter will be expanding upon Second Chance's surgical suite, the kennel area, and new equipment. Comar said that the intake area for cats will also be improved.

"We have to quarantine cats when they first come in to the center and currently we quarantine them in our basement," she said. "But here, at our new center, they will be on the main level and they'll have natural sunlight coming in - which is important for the welfare of an animal. They need to see the sun and they need to know sunrise and sunset."

The new kennels will offer a less stressful environment. Currently, the animals can see and hear each other at the Shaftsbury location. The Arlington center will have the animals situated so that they cannot hear or see one another.

"It's been a lot of work," Comar said. "When you go from planning and writing things out on a piece of paper, and seeing a big plan and to suddenly actually seeing everything marked off, you can start to visualize where the dogs are going to be and where the surgeries are going to take place. And our beautiful lobby with the vaulted ceilings to the exposed beams."

"We want to do the best that we can for animals and this is the ultimate way that Second Chance can really take care of animals," she said.

To learn more about The Second Chance Animal Shelter visit www.2ndchanceanimalcenter.org or on Facebook at Second Chance Animal Shelter.


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