Nonprofit wins $500,000 state grant for the $1.5 million project, which is expected to be completed in 2020

The Warwick Valley Humane Society is located at 48 Public Works Drive in Warwick. The nonprofit organization seeks to raise funds to built a $1.5 million state-of-the-art shelter by 2020

Armed with a $500,000 state grant and nearly $325,000 in additional individual and foundation funds, the Warwick Valley Humane Society has launched a capital campaign to raise the remaining funds needed to build a $1.5 million state-of-the-art animal shelter.

The new facility would address years of overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure that has hampered the organization’s ability to provide shelter and supportive services for hundreds of rescued dogs, cats and other animals to today’s standards in animal care for the three Orange County towns of Warwick, Chester and Tuxedo.

The Warwick Valley Humane Society was awarded a $500,000 grant from New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund Grant program in January. This is the highest award possible through the competitive grant program, the first state-funded program of its kind in the nation, administered by the state Office of Agriculture and Markets.

The Warwick Valley Humane Society rescued 341 domestic animals – including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and roosters – in 2018. Add to that another 45 assorted injured and orphaned wildlife.

The staff provides a range of services including shelter, medical treatment, redemption and adoption of domestic and farm pets and transport to state licensed wildlife rehabilitators.

“We are extremely pleased to be launching a drive aimed at securing the remaining funds necessary to build a much-needed new shelter at our current home in Warwick,” said Suzyn Barron, WVHS president. “Winning the Companion Animal Capital Fund Grant was incredible. It recognized the significant need we are experiencing and the challenges faced by our dedicated staff and volunteers in caring for our community’s unwanted, stray and neglected animal companions.”

A series of fund-raising efforts

Barron said WVHS has begun its campaign in hopes of raising the needed funding from a combination of donations, event revenue, and grant awards.

The organization has some upcoming fund-raising events, including partnering with Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center for the “Sunset at Winslow” (sunsetatwinslow.com) set for Saturday, June 15. (See related story on page xx.)

In addition, the “Fore the Animals” Golf Outing in May and “Woofstock” in June.

Current conditions

Originally built in 1968, Humane Society’s current facility is a collection of additions built on an as-needed basis.

Society officials described the current facility as cramped, poorly lit and uncomfortable for both animals and humans.

According to the society’s press release detailing the grant and the campaign, the staff is unable to provide more than one general isolation room, one intake area, what they describe as less-than-ideal group housing and little room for enrichment. A cat room doubles as an office, a bathroom doubles as a temporary dog room and a utility room serves as laundry, food prep, grooming and veterinary area.

The proposed project will enable the Humane Society to address and remedy all of these concerns as well as create extra isolation kennels.

Service area

The Warwick Valley Humane Society serves the towns of Warwick, Chester and Tuxedo in Orange County, an area, collectively, of more than 179 square miles and populated by nearly 50,000 people.

The society serves as 24/7 Animal Control for Warwick and Chester and provides impoundment services for Tuxedo.

These three municipalities represent 16,892 occupied households (US Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey) and, using estimates provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association, equating to nearly 10,000 dogs and nearly 11,000 cats.

Additionally, WVHS provides services to the entirety of Orange County, working closely with law enforcement and other government agencies and humane societies in the prevention, investigation and alleviation of animal neglect and cruelty.

This includes providing coverage assistance in Orange County’s urban centers of Middletown, Newburgh and the Town of Windsor.

At any given time, the Warwick Valley Humane Society can accommodate approximately 200 animals (25 dogs, 175 cats); it is nearly always beyond capacity, officials said.

For more information or to donate, call 845 986-2473 or visit wvhumane.org.

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