The cat’s meow: Delta Animal Shelter one step closer to construction

ESCANABA – The Delta Animal Shelter is one step closer to beginning construction on a new shelter building.

Shelter officials announced in April their plans to relocate to a new piece of property they purchased from Tom and Terry Brayak of Bichler Gravel and Concrete. The approximately 7,000 square-foot shelter will be located on a vacant lot spanning 12 acres on County Road 426 near NewPage.

“We’ve done the necessary steps to get everything ready to begin the building process,” said Delta Animal Shelter Manager Sue Gartland. “We’ve gone through various stages of permitting, rezoning, and the DEQ approved the site.”

Shelter officials have been working with an architect who specializes in animal shelters, along with Dynamic Design Group, Inc. of Escanaba, to create a usable building layout.

“We should be able to put that out for bid here within the next couple weeks,” said Gartland, who noted the bid process will be open to all local contractors and stay within Delta County.

She said optimistically, the new shelter would begin construction toward the end of summer.

“Right now we’re fine-tuning the building design,” said Gartland, as there will be many changes from the current shelter building. The goal is to turn the shelter into a more adoption-friendly center with places for potential adopters to spend time with animals. There will also be a room where cats can spend time outside of their cages and a procedure room for vaccinations and drawing blood.

“I think there’s a lot of potential growth for this to be a great asset for the community,” said Gartland. “It will be on 12 acres of land that we own. In the future, there’s been talks about making walking trails or a dog park and we’ll be looking to the public to see what they feel is needed in this area.”

Gartland said a couple private donors have already come through with large donations to the project and the shelter hopes to kick off its capital campaign soon.

The Brayaks have actually agreed to donate approximately $20,000 to the project, she said, which will officially mark the start of the capital campaign.

“The building project will be funded off of grant money and private donations, so we’re looking for anybody that wants to help with this cause,” said Gartland. “We have started accepting donations now.”

The move of the shelter comes after several ongoing safety concerns and space issues the shelter had with its current county-owned facility, which they officially took over from county operation in 2011.

Gartland said the shelter currently houses about 100 animals each day. Last year, 1,225 animals came to the shelter for a variety of reasons.

She said now is the time of year when the shelter receives kittens by the boxful since cats are seasonal breeders. One of the shelter’s upcoming events is a kitten shower on June 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the shelter, which coincides with Adopt-a-Cat Month.

“We’re looking for the public to donate supplies that we need this time of year that we normally don’t need other times,” she said. This includes canned and dry kitten food, KMR milk replacer, kitten toys, litter pans, and other items. There will also be special adoption prices on kittens. Snacks and beverages will be available at the event.

For more information on the kitten shower or to donate to the shelter’s new building project, call the shelter at 789-0230, or visit them at 6685 N.75 Drive in Escanaba.