The new Rushville Animal Shelter is currently under construction near the existing animal shelter on Smiley Avenue in Rushville.

The building will feature numerous improvements over the old shelter to improve the wellbeing of animals in the shelter’s care.

“Not only will the new building address the physical need of replacing an old and outdated structure, but it will also allow us to provide better quality of care for each animal through the design elements directed at the physical and mental needs of animals while in a shelter environment,” Director of the Rushville Animal Shelter Tabitha Cottrell said.

Cottrell estimates the new shelter will house the same number of kennels as the current shelter. However, all kennels will be housed inside of the new building and it will be organized in ways, which improve the quality of life of animals and maximize efficiency.

Features of the new shelter include a larger parking lot, a visitation area, an examination room and indoor dog kennels with outdoor access among other upgrades. The Rush County Humane Society’s Office will also be located at the new shelter.

An enclosed porch will serve as the entrance to the building to help insulate the structure and save energy.

A reception area and office will be housed in front of the building.

The middle of the building will be divided in half with three rooms on the right side and two areas on the left.

On the right side of the building, one room will be utilized for cat adoptions. The second room will allow cats to free roam, so they feel as if they were in a home environment.

The third room will be used for cat kennels, which will be utilized if the shelter becomes full or if certain cats can’t coexist with each other.

The shelter has been mindful to purchase specific kennels to improve quality of life for cats. These kennels adapt for increased cat intake during kitten seasons.

On the left side of the building, there will be a visitation room for visitors to get to know the animals they are interested in adopting. A kitchen and laundry area will be in a combined space on the left side of the building.

An examination room and storage area will be located in the middle of the building.

Dog kennels and the Rush County Humane Society’s office will be housed in back of the building.

The indoor/outdoor dog kennels will utilize guillotine dog doors to protect dogs from the elements, yet allow them to get fresh air and stay comfortable. These kennels are a significant upgrade for the shelter.

“Right now we physically have to remove each dog from an indoor kennel to an exterior kennel, which isn’t terrible when you don’t have very many dogs,” Cottrell said. “However, when you have a dog that is aggressive, we may never be able to physically remove that dog from the kennel and it’s not fair.”

An exercise space will be featured in back of the facility for staff to work with animals during winter and to give volunteers a place to play with animals.

Currently, there isn’t a timeline for completion of the shelter.

“The hope is they’re getting it done just enough for us to move in and function and more construction will occur around us,” Cottrell said. “We are hoping the move in date will be sometime this year. We just don’t have an actual projected date. It just depends on weather and little bit of funding.”

The shelter will be hosting fundraisers in the coming months to help complete the interior construction of the shelter.

The building will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order for those with disabilities to visit the shelter with ease.

Look for updates on the new Rushville Animal Shelter in future editions of the Rushville Republican.

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