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Humane Society poised to move into new, bigger space

By jim Published: March 18, 2010

By Rick Armon
Beacon Journal staff writer

BOSTON TWP.: Christine Shock walked into the small administrative office at the Humane Society of Greater Akron one day and found a rooster living under her desk.

So it goes at the cramped Humane Society, where space is at a premium and animals can end up being housed in any open nook.

''We make do with what we have,'' said Kristin Branagan, director of animal placement and education.

Not for much longer.

After years of talking about and looking for a new location, the Humane Society is moving March 29 into a more modern and spacious facility in Twinsburg Township.

''We're going to have much more room for the animals to play in and for the adopters to view them in,'' Branagan said. ''We're going to have the isolation area we need. We're going to have a place to take animals and train them individually. It's going to be a whole new world.''

The Humane Society has operated out of a small facility and converted barn in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for more than four decades. But last fall, the agency agreed to buy a 68,000-square-foot office and warehouse building at 7996 Darrow Road from the Summit County Port Authority for $3.4 million.

The group has a $5 million capital campaign under way to pay for the move.

Some equipment already has been moved to the new location. Workers and volunteers will undertake the massive effort of transporting all the animals March 29.

The Humane Society has scheduled a special St. Patrick's Day-themed adopt-athon this weekend in an attempt to find homes for as many cats and dogs as possible before the move.

The group has about 80 dogs and 130 cats now.

''The fewer animals we have to move, the better for them,'' said Shock, the director of community relations.

The Humane Society will be closed for adoptions for a couple of weeks after the move so the animals and workers can get acclimated to the new surroundings. It will be open for people to drop off animals.

The agency hopes to reopen for adoptions April 13.

The operation will be much different at the new location.

The current site is so crowded the public no longer is permitted to wander through to meet the animals. Instead, people must look at photos, then ask that the animals be brought to them.

Since there are no visitation rooms to play in, people either wander outside or, in case of bad weather, stand in the tiny lobby.

During the day, dogs are taken outside and put in chain-link enclosures. It's easy for the dogs to get muddy when it rains.

At the Twinsburg Township facility, people will be allowed to walk through the building and visit with the animals. The site, which still needs much renovation work, also will include visitation rooms. Dogs won't be taken outside unless it's for a regular walk.

Humane Society officials also are excited about the improved visibility provided in Twinsburg Township. The agency now is located on Quick Road in a little-traveled area.

The new site is on Darrow Road (state Route 91), just south of Interstate 480 and north of Hudson. The agency could draw more visitors from southern Cuyahoga, southwestern Geauga and northwestern Portage counties.

The Humane Society also should benefit from a new relationship with Hattie Larlham, which serves people with disabilities. Hattie Larlham is moving its administrative offices into the Twinsburg Township facility and will open a doggie day care there.

For more details about the Humane Society, call 330-657-2010 or go online to http://www.summithumane.org.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com.

Kristin Branagan (right), Director of Animal Placement and Education at the Humane Society of Greater Akron, spends some quality time with Zoey, a 3-year-old husky/pointer mix as the group prepares for their move to its new headquarters in Twinsburg Twp. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal)
View more photos>>

BOSTON TWP.: Christine Shock walked into the small administrative office at the Humane Society of Greater Akron one day and found a rooster living under her desk.

So it goes at the cramped Humane Society, where space is at a premium and animals can end up being housed in any open nook.

''We make do with what we have,'' said Kristin Branagan, director of animal placement and education.

Not for much longer.

After years of talking about and looking for a new location, the Humane Society is moving March 29 into a more modern and spacious facility in Twinsburg Township.

''We're going to have much more room for the animals to play in and for the adopters to view them in,'' Branagan said. ''We're going to have the isolation area we need. We're going to have a place to take animals and train them individually. It's going to be a whole new world.''

The Humane Society has operated out of a small facility and converted barn in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for more than four decades. But last fall, the agency agreed to buy a 68,000-square-foot office and warehouse building at 7996 Darrow Road from the Summit County Port Authority for $3.4 million.

The group has a $5 million capital campaign under way to pay for the move.

Some equipment already has been moved to the new location. Workers and volunteers will undertake the massive effort of transporting all the animals March 29.

The Humane Society has scheduled a special St. Patrick's Day-themed adopt-athon this weekend in an attempt to find homes for as many cats and dogs as possible before the move.

The group has about 80 dogs and 130 cats now.

''The fewer animals we have to move, the better for them,'' said Shock, the director of community relations.

The Humane Society will be closed for adoptions for a couple of weeks after the move so the animals and workers can get acclimated to the new surroundings. It will be open for people to drop off animals.

The agency hopes to reopen for adoptions April 13.

The operation will be much different at the new location.

The current site is so crowded the public no longer is permitted to wander through to meet the animals. Instead, people must look at photos, then ask that the animals be brought to them.

Since there are no visitation rooms to play in, people either wander outside or, in case of bad weather, stand in the tiny lobby.

During the day, dogs are taken outside and put in chain-link enclosures. It's easy for the dogs to get muddy when it rains.

At the Twinsburg Township facility, people will be allowed to walk through the building and visit with the animals. The site, which still needs much renovation work, also will include visitation rooms. Dogs won't be taken outside unless it's for a regular walk.

Humane Society officials also are excited about the improved visibility provided in Twinsburg Township. The agency now is located on Quick Road in a little-traveled area.

The new site is on Darrow Road (state Route 91), just south of Interstate 480 and north of Hudson. The agency could draw more visitors from southern Cuyahoga, southwestern Geauga and northwestern Portage counties.

The Humane Society also should benefit from a new relationship with Hattie Larlham, which serves people with disabilities. Hattie Larlham is moving its administrative offices into the Twinsburg Township facility and will open a doggie day care there.

For more details about the Humane Society, call 330-657-2010 or go online to http://www.summithumane.org.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com

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