St. Augustine Humane Society is nearing completion of the non-profit’s building expansion at 1665 Old Moultrie Road. According to Carolyn Smith, St. Augustine Humane Society’s Executive Director, approximately $300,000 in renovations are underway to help ensure the facility can continue its mission to keep pets out of shelters and in forever homes with responsible pet ownership. The project includes construction of a new surgery wing for low or no cost spay and neuter services, charity pet clinic renovations, x-ray equipment, radiography room, along with dog and cat recovery areas, waiting rooms, and an outdoor pet pavilion, among others. Completion date is February 2020.
“Since 2013, the Humane Society has provided an extensive list of pet services and programs for the area’s underserved in just 2,000-square-feet of space. We are now open for business six days a week,” said Smith. “Founded in 1946, we have come a long way. However, the response for care from the community is now overwhelming,” she said. “We must maintain and grow our capabilities and standards of excellence with new equipment, staff, and physical space. Approximately 1,400-square-feet of additional area is currently under construction as we’re now operating at capacity in our existing facility.”
Smith added the non-profit’s pet clinic is currently serving the community three days a week which will be enhanced to five days per week with an increase in veterinary services. Annually, the Humane Society provides 2,010 wellness visits; 5,600 vaccinations; 540 microchips; 2200 spay-neuter surgeries; 275 special surgeries; 120 dental procedures, and gives away 22,000 pounds of pet food. With the additional funding for expansion and services, Smith estimates the increase in veterinary care will more than triple the number of procedures and pets served throughout St. Johns County.
Additionally, local contractors working on the expansion project and who are donating their fees include Gaere MacDonald, owner and president of Gaere MacDonald Construction Inc. and Jeff Rhoden of The Rhoden Group Design/Build. Also, the following northeast Florida tradesmen are contributing to the project while working at cost and in some instances less, along with discounts from material suppliers including Bill Gregory, owner and president of Gregory Tile & Marble Inc. Gregory is the Humane Society’s Board President. Also, Construction Debris Removal Inc.; John Thomas Masonry; Treys Tractor Works; Pat Crews Construction; Werninck & Son Supply; Riverside Roof Truss; Mastercraft Window and Door Inc.; Ferrell Electric Inc.; Skip Ferguson Plumbing; Wilson Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.; W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc.; Advanced Insulation Inc.; Ancient City Drywall, Inc; All Seasons Roofing, Inc.; Builders Service Aluminum Products, and Fletcher Brother Painting Inc.
Recently, fundraisers to support the costs for Humane Society operation, and additional expansion materials, medical equipment, and other subcontractors included the annual Pin Up Paws pet calendar contest with more than $21,000 from online photo submissions, votes, donations, silent auctions and calendar sales. Also, this year, the annual Pup Party event raised $23,214 along with direct donations from donors and fees collected from pet patient owners, grooming salon clients, among others. Volunteers also allow for cost savings at the wellness clinic, surgery center, pet food pantry, and resource center, to name a few.
Funds raised throughout the year permit St. Augustine Humane Society staff to attend continuing education courses and events, plus the January 2020 North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando where the team will participate in immersive learning with insights and camaraderie among veterinary professionals across the country and around the world. During this time, equipment and supplies will be procured for expanded surgery and examination rooms. All efforts support the non-profit’s mission of promoting healthy lifelong pet ownership and reducing the rate of relinquishment to shelters.