By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
The Morrison County Animal Humane Society (MCAHS) is boasting a new look. Director Connie Bursey and her staff have come up with some new ideas; ideas the Board of Directors readily agreed to.
The remodeling of the building began in October 2012. The entire building, excluding the dog kennels which were refurbished several years ago, has been updated.
The behind-the-scenes changes included cleaning the venting. That job has been put on an annual rotation and will greatly improve the air quality for the animals, said Bursey.
“We removed the old intercom system since it wasn’t being used,” said Bursey. “We also added electric outlets to different areas plus a computer and new software.”
What patrons will notice is the brighter, cleaner rooms. New epoxy flooring replaced the old tile-and-grout floors which collected germs. Bursey said the new flooring is easier to clean and sanitize.
Every wall that had a hole, scratch and/or chew mark throughout the MCAHS was repaired. A new coat of paint covered those walls, making each room cheerier.
Stainless steel countertops for both the reception area and the examination/intake room have been donated and will be installed soon.
The intake room now includes the tub, the examination table, medications and supplies and kennels for quarantined cats. By having everything needed for the intake of an animal in one room instead of multiple rooms, it saves steps and eliminates the spreading of germs.
The cat room was moved to an area with windows and the kennels are now arranged so the cats don’t have to look at each other.
“By doing so, we have reduced stress in the cats,” said Bursey.
Another stress reducer is allowing the healthy cats out of their kennels so they can interact with each other. Bursey said cats tend to lose their personalities when caged for long periods.
Both dog and cat intakes now come in through the side door and not through the front, alleviating germs and viruses from an ill animal being left behind for another to pick up.
“Cats are kept in the intake room until they have been evaluated,” said Bursey. “The evaluation includes a blood draw and tests conducted for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiencey virus, both highly contagious.
Dogs will come through the same intake room and checked for fleas or ticks. If injured, they see the veterinarian. If OK, they are given a kennel.
“It’s rare when a dog needs to be quarantined,” said Bursey.
But canine parvovirus is highly contagious, the MCAHS has taken precautions to prevent its spread. New and more-effective cleaning products are being used and workers are required to wear boots when sanitizing the dogs’ kennels. The boots are sanitized daily.
“All puppies that come in are vaccinated for parvo,” said Bursey. “If a dog has diarrhea, those boots are sanitized between dogs.”
The MCAHS is also working with both the dogs and cats together to see if they can get along. Many times a family would like to adopt a dog and they already have a cat, or vice versa. It would be good to know if the new cat or dog gets along with the other species.
The reception area where patrons are greeted is smaller than it was before and the area for the public has increased in size. That way, when a family comes to meet a new pet, there is room for them to get acquainted.
A new logo has been developed for the MCAHS, and new signs will be posted both inside and out of the building reflecting the new logo.
“It’s more cheery and eye-catching,” said Bursey. “It will reflect more of who we are.”
In the reception area, a donor wall and a memorial wall will be created.
“Our goal is to be a bigger part of the Morrison County community,” said Bursey. “We are hoping to add classes to our schedule both for the animals and for their owners.”
She said the MCAHS has so many great ideas that they cannot move fast enough.
The MCAHS is having an open house Saturday, Feb. 2, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Tours will be given of the newly remodeled building. For more information, call (320) 632-0703.