Officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) were busy this week constructing a temporary emergency shelter in the former Kroger building, 1095 W. Fifth St. Officials with the organization confirmed the shelter is not in response to any current investigation or need, but rather part of its on-going mission. (Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)
This week, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) began constructing a temporary emergency shelter in the former Kroger building, 1095 W. Fifth St.
The ASPCA confirmed it is “temporarily leasing” the building, “to provide short-term care for animals we rescue from situations of cruelty and neglect.”
The ASPCA is a national animal welfare organization that works to improve the lives of companion animals across the country through what it calls “multi-faceted programs tackling issues such as homelessness, disaster displacement and cruelty.”
“When the ASPCA assists law enforcement and animal shelters with large-scale cruelty cases, or when a large population of homeless animals are displaced due to a natural disaster, we often set up and operate temporary emergency shelters to provide ongoing care and enrichment for the animals, as well as any needed medical and behavioral treatment,” said Kristen Collins, vice president of ASPCA Rehabilitation Services.
She said that care includes medical and behavioral treatment, as well as ongoing daily care and enrichment until custody is determined by the court and the animals can be made available for adoption.
Alyssa Fleck, with the ASPCA, said the local facility will have a “smaller footprint” and use the same plan as other similar facilities. She said the shelter will have a small staff. She added that with size of the operation, she does not anticipate any traffic or noise issues with the facility.
ASPCA officials said an emergency shelter is the “first stop” for an animal rescued through a large-scale investigation or surrender.
Officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the temporary emergency shelter under construction in the former Kroger building, 1095 W. Fifth St., will use the same plan as other similar facilities. (Photo submitted)
Fleck stressed that work like this is ongoing and the local site is not in response to any particular case. She said animals going to the shelter would not necessarily be from Ohio.
Collins said the Columbus area is “a centralized location with accessibility to many parts of the country where the ASPCA assists with animal cruelty and neglect cases.”
She confirmed the local site will be in place for “several months, but this is not a permanent operation.”
Collins said emergency shelters are often needed to “provide a temporary space to care for the animals so as not to overwhelm brick-and-mortar shelters that may not have the capacity to take in a large population of animals at any given time.”
“Animals receiving care at an emergency temporary shelter operated by the ASPCA receive the same care you would expect from a brick and mortar shelter,” Collins said. “Our temporary shelters are staffed with animal care technicians as well as behavior and medical experts to provide the animals – often cats and dogs – with ongoing care.”
Collins said that because the animals are sometimes considered evidence in criminal investigations, strict protocols must be followed to “uphold the integrity of the case until animal disposition is determined by the court.”
Once the case has been concluded or the animals surrendered, the animals will be evaluated. Some will go for specialized rehabilitation and others will be available for adoption. Collins said the ASPCA partners with animal welfare organizations from across the country so, while some rescued animals may be placed with local shelters, “many will be made available for adoption throughout the country.”
She said the emergency shelter is not in need of volunteers or in-kind donations, but encouraged residents to inform themselves about and support the ASPCA programs.
“We also encourage community members to contact their local shelter if they are interested in supporting animals in need,” Collins said
Officials have said that in addition to things like electricity, running water and proper ventilation, other details like zoning considerations, proper permitting, complying with veterinary practice laws and security must be considered for an emergency shelter.
According to the ASPCA, the organization has a legal team that “works through all the issues and, in the midst of planning, is on call 24/7 to ensure that the lease agreement for a temporary shelter location will be finalized by the given deadline.”
Jeremy Hoyt, public service director for the City of Marysville, said officials representing the ASPCA are “working through the permitting process” with the city and county. Hoyt said that under the city zoning, the animal shelter is a permitted use.
Earlier this month, Columbus-based Vision Development announced plans to demolish the existing structures on the Kroger Plaza site and create a mixed-use development with market-rate apartments and for sale out lots on the site.