The Brandywine Valley SPCA is preparing to move its New Castle operations to a new facility on Churchmans Road, thanks in part to a $500,000 grant included in the bond bill passed by the General Assembly in June.
The new facility will replace its current Old New Castle campus with a larger state-of-the-art shelter and low-cost veterinary clinic.
The total cost for the project is around $4.5 million. To date, the organization has raised around $3.2 million, including the $500,000 allocated in the bond bill.
The BVSPCA’s state grant was included among the $70 million allocated within the bond bill’s community redevelopment fund, which includes one-time allocations that legislators earmark for nonprofits, schools, and community agencies in their districts.
The current BVSPCA campus at 600 South Street opened in 2016 after the BVSPCA leased and renovated a lumber warehouse, but the organization has quickly outgrown that facility.
Once completed, the new campus will feature the state’s first shelter intensive care unit, double the organization’s capacity to treat and spay/neuter family pets, and improve the housing and quality of life for shelter animals waiting to be adopted.
BVSPCA has already started retrofitting the 12,268 square foot property and plans to add an additional 7,658 square feet of shelter space.
“This new facility will go beyond addressing the limitations of our current New Castle Campus to become the largest and most comprehensive of our four campuses,” said Adam Lamb, the organization’s CEO.
According to a press release, the new facility will allow shelter animals to benefit from larger, more comfortable housing.
“Every adoptable dog will enjoy an indoor/outdoor kennel and outdoor play yards not feasible in the current location in Old New Castle,” It said. “Cat housing will double, and the shelter cats will have an outdoor catio.”
The new intensive care unit will allow the organization to treat critically ill dogs and cats from all their locations.
Because the Brandywine Valley SPCA is contracted by the state to handle lost and stray dogs, cruelty cases, and emergencies, they often receive animals in immediate need of medical attention. Currently, the shelter has to outsource many of its emergency care services. With the construction of the new ICU, animals will be able to receive critical care much faster.
“We receive over 60% of the state’s shelter animals and quite a few of them come in with difficult conditions,” said Linda Torelli, marketing director. “Having the ICU in-house is going to save us a lot of money, but more importantly it’s going to help us save a lot more lives because we’ll be able to treat them on-site.”
Torelli said that the larger facility would likely lead to the creation of new jobs.
“We’re doubling our clinic space, so we’ll be able to see twice the number of family pets for low-cost veterinary care and house twice the number of shelter cats for adoption,” Torelli said. “So by growing our space, that’s going to lead us to where we’ll need to incrementally grow our staff in certain areas.”
The new facility’s state-of-the-art features include more indoor and outdoor dog runs and outdoor play yards; new specialty surgery capabilities for shelter and family pets from all BVSPCA locations; and quarantine treatment rooms to help more shelter and family pets with contagious diseases.
The new campus will also feature a large community room and expansive outdoor areas. These spaces will allow the organization to expand its humane education, volunteering, and service groups beyond what is possible at the current location.
According to the group, the organization has invested more than $5 million from private donations and grants in its infrastructure in Delaware, resulting in a shelter and veterinary clinic in each county. The Brandywine SPCA cares for more than 9,000 animals annually in Delaware, which amounts to 60% of the shelter animal intake in the state, and it employs 90 Delawareans.
In 2020, the organization cared for more than 16,000 lost, stray, owner-surrendered, and abused, and neglected animals while achieving a 96% live release rate.
The organization is counting on donations from the public to complete its new facility. Donations can be made at bvspca.org/newcastle or by mail to: Brandywine Valley SPCA, 600 South Street, New Castle, DE 19720.
The new facility, located at 290 Churchmans Road, is expected to open in January 2022.
Charlie is a staff writer for Delaware LIVE covering Delaware legislative and business news. Previously, Charlie worked for the Delaware State Senate. He was raised in Sussex County before attending Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where he studied political science and philosophy.
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