New Porter County Animal Shelter Taking Shape

By Bob Kasarda, (219) 548-4345

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — The basic shell of the new county animal shelter is in place and work on the interior of the building is still in the early stages.

But Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, was thrilled Thursday by what she saw.

“We can’t get in here soon enough,” she said.

Blaney and her aunt, Jacki Stutzman, who donated $1 million toward the $3.25 million project, visited the site Thursday, which is located just northwest of the Porter County Expo Center along Ind. 49.

Group Shot at Porter County Animal Shelter while Under Construction

Bob Kasarda, The Times — Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, left, and her aunt, Jacki Stutzman, look over a drawing of the new Porter Count Animal Shelter on Thursday while visiting the construction site.

“This is magnificent,” Stutzman said as she walked into the largest of the rooms, which will soon house many of the building’s 120 dog kennels.

The new shelter is 14,000 square feet, as compared to 4,000 square feet at the current facility that was built in the early 1980s along Ind. 2, south of U.S. 30. The new maximum capacity for dogs rises from 50 to 120, and from 80 to 120 for cats.

“Just like the old one,” Blaney joked upon seeing the large kennel area.

The new facility is slated to open June 1, she said.

David Merkel, who is serving as project manager for the design builder, Larson-Danielson Construction, said the 10 kennels in the small-breed dog area will each have access to outside runs.

The dogs kept in the larger main kennel area will be escorted out to the runs, he said.

Merkel stopped along the tour to point out an indoor area lined with several windows to give cats exposure to the outside.

The animal areas of the building will feature a special system to change out the interior air 10 times per hour, he said.

Merkel said his crew is shooting to be done March 23, at which time the county will take over with its work on the building.

The county is funding the project through proceeds from the 2007 sale of the former county hospital, which required a unanimous vote by the three county commissioners and seven members of the County Council.