TRENTON, Maine — Having reached its latest fundraising goal, a local animal shelter has begun work on expanding its facility.
The Hancock County chapter of the SPCA has raised $2 million, part of which will go toward an expansion project at its Route 3 shelter. With the addition, the organization hopes to increase its capacity from approximately 20 dogs and cats to roughly three to five times that number, an official with the group said Friday.
Doug Radziewicz, the shelter’s executive director, said that the SPCA chapter opened the existing 1,100-square-foot facility in Trenton in January 2007.
“The expansion will add 4,800 square feet,” Radziewicz said.
Ellsworth-based construction firm E.L. Shea has begun work on the addition, SPCA said in a prepared statement released earlier this week. The group celebrated reaching its fundraising goal last weekend by holding a low-key groundbreaking ceremony for supporters.
Radziewicz said the addition should take about five months to construct, which would allow the group to expand into the larger part of the building next spring. Besides having more space for cats and dogs, the expanded shelter will have a room for smaller animals such as rabbits and ferrets, Radziewicz said.
The executive director said he and his staff have cared for more than 1,200 animals at the shelter since it first opened nearly three years ago. Still, the group has not been able to accept all the animals that have come its way and has referred some people to other facilities.
“We easily could have taken in double that amount, but we didn’t have the space,” Radziewicz said.
With a larger facility, SPCA will be able to accept animals that are captured as strays by local municipalities, he said.
The $2 million raised by the group will pay for the addition and increase the amount of money in its endowment, according to Radziewicz. He said the SPCA chapter raises all of its funds directly from local donors and gets no additional money from government entities or national organizations.
“Having an endowment is central to us so we can have that interest to fund our operations,” Radziewicz said.
But the shelter still needs to raise more money. Its newest fundraising goal is $150,000, which will be used to pay for improved air filtration and to meet the organization’s immediate endowment needs.
Eventually, the SPCA chapter hopes to complete a third construction phase that will add a barn to the property. Radziewicz said the barn would be used to provide short-term shelter to larger companion animals such as horses, donkeys or goats. With four or five standard stalls and an attached paddock, the barn will enable SPCA to provide short-term and emergency care to larger animals before they can be placed in long-term homes.
“We feel this area is in need of it,” Radziewicz said of short-term large-animal housing.
SPCA expects someday to have to raise between $200,000 and $500,000 in order to have the barn built, he said.