Building design expected to help pet adoption

With plans for a new Peninsula Humane Society home approved by the City Council, officials believe pet adoption rates and volunteer turnout will spike after construction is complete.

It takes an average of 20 days for a cat or dog to be adopted at the PHS, depending on breed, PHS spokesman Scott Delucchi said. For every animal adopted, up to six visitors do not adopt. Those numbers are expected to improve with the new facility, he said.

“It’s the same thing for volunteering,” Delucchi said. “They want to help but if it’s too noisy and they see a line of sad dogs in kennels, it might be overwhelming.”

The designing architect retained for the project, George Miers & Associates in Moraga, specializes in animal-care facilities that give visitors a pleasant experience, said the company’s junior architect Eric Larson.

Viewing stations will be built for visitors to observe injured or sick animals in recovery. An air-filtering system will eliminate lingering smells. Kennels will be more like “condos,” in which visitors can enter spacious rooms and interact with cats and dogs up for adoption.

“The old shelter is rather gloomy,” Larson said. “The ones we open come with a lot more light and it’s welcoming. You’re not going to a place that’s like a dungeon.”

Examples of newly opened humane society buildings include San Diego and Milwaukee, where volunteer numbers have doubled. Before the Wisconsin Humane Society moved into its facility in 2000, an average of about 3,500 pets were adopted a year. An estimated 8,500 pets will be adopted this year, said WHS Executive Director Victoria Wellens.

Deborah Robbins, a 15-year PHS volunteer, said she has often heard people say they would volunteer at the PHS if the current place on Airport Boulevard did not seem depressing.

“People have said, ‘I don’t see how I could volunteer here. It would just be too sad,’” she said.

The $15 million project, to be located on Rollins Road, was unanimously approved by the City Council on Monday. The 42,000-square-foot facility will have a capacity for more than 400 domesticated and wild animals.

bfoley@examiner.com

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