Cumberland Times-News

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February 17, 2013

New animal rescue shelter in Garrett County

MCHENRY — A Garrett County animal rescue shelter, HART for Animals, is accepting bids for phase I of construction for a state-of-the-art, 12,000-square-foot facility to be located on Bumble Bee Road.

Phase I of the Homeless Animal Rescue and Transport for Animals facility will consist of a veterinary clinic,  a boarding spa, a reception area and a small store.

The total cost of construction for phase I is an estimated $2.2 million with construction to be completed in midsummer, according to Michael Pellet, president of HART.

Phase II will consist of an adoption center and will begin once phase I is completed. The entire project is expected to be completed sometime this year, according to Pellet.

“It (the adoption center) is very important to the county. It will relieve pressure on the Garrett County Animal Shelter, which currently receives 1,200 to 1,500 (animals) a year but only has enough space for 40 animals,” said Pellet, who added that the project will create 35 jobs for the county. “HART provides education to the general public about the humane treatment of animals. Our goal is to improve the lives of domestic animals in the county.”

In 2011, HART held its groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of construction. The site has been cleared and the foundation for the veterinary clinic, reception area and boarding spa has been completed.

The veterinary clinic will provide a low-cost spay and neuter clinic for low-income individuals, and the boarding spa will contain a grooming area, according to Pellet.

The project is being done through fundraisers and grants. So far, close to $600,000 has been raised and a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan has been received for overall construction of the project, according to Pellet. HART also received a $10,600 USDA grant and a $3,300 Economic Impact Initiative grant, according to a HART newsletter.

“One hundred percent of funds raised will go toward the building,” said Pellet.

Fundraising events include the Deep Creek Arts and Wine festival, which is the biggest fundraiser, and monthly poker tournaments and other activities, according to Pellet.

Money garnered from the operations at the facility, as well as money from continuing fundraisers, will go toward funding the adoption center. The adoption center will have the capacity to house 60 dogs, 30 puppies, 40 cats, plus multiple kittens, according to Pellet.

HART works with the Garrett County Animal Shelter to save the lives of homeless pets that would otherwise be euthanized.

To prevent the spread of disease, HART vaccinates all puppies and kittens received at the county shelter, according to the HART website.

Since its founding, HART has been transporting adoptable animals to animal shelters throughout the mid-Atlantic and on average has saved 600 animals per year from being euthanized, according to Pellet.

In November 2007, Garrett County commissioners agreed to donate the land on Bumble Bee Road, according to the HART website.

HART for Animals, which is nonprofit, was founded in 2003 by Caroline Robison and Candy DeGiovanni and in August of that year the IRS granted the organization its tax-exempt status.

Sealed bids for Phase I construction will be received by Pellet at the HART office located on 610 Foy Road until noon on March 5. Copies of contract documents for the project may be obtained at the office of Stoiber & Associates located on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C.

For more information on HART, visit www.hartforanimals.org.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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