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Animal Shelter Blog 


Innovation Coming to Animal Shelter Design - Could Increase Adoption Rates

We are always researching innovative animal shelter design ideas. The Petcube is one of the more innovative ideas we've come across in a while. The Petcube allows pet owners to play with their pets remotely. It's outfitted with a laser pointer, a wide angle camera, and WiFi. 

The goal is to get the PetCube into animal shelters, and let the public play with the shelter animals from remote locations via a public feed. Very cool! 

 Could this new product change the way people interact with pets at animal shelters? Will it increase adoption rates and raise awareness? We are keeping a close eye on this project; it has to the potential to be a gamechanger for animal shelters. At Shelterplanners, we would love to incorporate this innovative prodcut into the way we design and plan animal shelters. Here's to more innovation that helps save animals!


How to Increase Animal Shelter Donations 

Source: Belly Rubs Pet Care


Unfortunately, money is necessary to improve animal shelter conditions – specifically major renovations, including animal shelter design and animal shelter building plans and construction.  The biggest mistake we see when helping communities raise money for a new animal shelter, is the mistake of begging for help:

“The animals need your help – please donate.”

“The animal shelter hasn’t been updated in 40 years – please help.”

“Please donate to your local animal shelter.”

Begging likely won't increase donations

These tactics simply don’t work.

The above messages do little to convince the people in your community to part with their money.  Think of how often people are asked to donate money -  it’s rare to be in public without being asked to donate to an organization.  Even the grocery store checkout line isn’t safe. People have become immune to the traditional plea: “Please support our cause because we need help.” 

In order to give your campaign a chance to be successful, you should answer two questions your potential donors are asking about your shelter:

1)      Why should I donate my hard-earned money to the animal shelter vs. every other organization asking for my money?

2)      How will my money be used – will it really make a difference?

As previously mentioned, it's not only important to have animal shelter plans available, but also to have a compelling story about the current shelter and how a new shelter would improve the community for both animals and people.  Educate your community about the current problems at the shelter.  Inform people about the dire situation, and then back up your claims by compiling specific statistics about your shelter – adoption rates, euthanasia rates, and intake rates. 

Community involvement, specifically donations, will only happen with increased awareness of the dire situation at the animal shelter and there’s a specific plan to improve those dire conditions.  


Animal Shelter Plans and An Informed Community Equals New Animal Shelter 

Recently, the animal shelter architect team at Shelterplanners designed an animal shelter for Iredell County, NC. Here is a picture of the design plans:

Animal Shelter PlansBecause it can be difficult for anyone other than an architect to understand such designs, we created an image of what the animal shelter would look like when the building was completed. Here is the 3D image:

The design plans and 3D rendering allow a few things to happen:

1) The shelter's staff and local officals can easily show the public the vision for the shelter. 

2) Your local citizens will have something to rally around - the general public doesn't understand architect mumbojumbo! The combination of plans and a 3D rendering will allow more people to understand the proposal. 

The more people truly understand the project, the more likely they will donate and/or support the new animal shelter. 

When your community is involved, things happen. Ultimately, the community decides whether an animal shelter is built. The Iredell County community decided it wanted to support its animals, here's the final product:

 Animal Shelter Plans + Community Support = New Animal Shelter!


Why Most Animal Shelters Struggle with Raising Money

“Folks aren’t going to pull out their checkbook until we can sit down and say we’re going to be digging a foundation in six weeks, six months. . . . They’re not going to give money to something that they don’t have any clue as to when we’re going to start.” - Montgomery County (VA) Administrator Craig Meadows

And the animal shelter architects team at Shelterplanners would like to add:

Your community is not going to rally around a cause if it’s not aware of the problem(s) at the local animal shelter.  Furthermore, it’s extremely difficult to operate a successful capital campaign if members of the community don’t have a CLEAR picture of the new animal shelter building plans and how much the new animal shelter will cost.

Approaching potential donors with a complete action plan, including building plans, a 3-D rendering of the proposed building (see above picture), and a complete breakdown of costs associated with building the animal shelter, is much more effective than asking, “Please contribute to the animal shelter because it’s in bad shape.”

In our experience, we found that we design and build animal shelters for communities that are united.  The community is the answer to solving the animal shelter problem.  A unified community can (gently) pressure local officials to find a solution to the poor shelter conditions.

It’s much easier to gain community support if you have a crystal clear action plan.  To quickly gain supporters for your cause: Give the community a picture of the proposed building, a cost projection for the new building, and support your plan with strong statistical data.  


Animal Shelter Architects Celebrate with Two Communities – Hard Work Still Pays Off! 

Finger Lakes animal shelter building design got its own cake!

Caught in the day to day struggle with animal shelter building plans, meeting budgets, zoning ordinance and building code requirements etc.; we tend to lose sight of the depth and breadth of effort needed by so many to realize a new shelter for their community. 

We at Shelterplanners participated in two gratifying events last week. 

The first was the “shelter project kick-off” held in Bath, New York at the Finger Lakes SPCA.  The gathering included members of the shelter Board of Directors, Staff and the Animal Shelter Architects and Construction Management team.  The Finger Lakes SPCA has been working toward this goal for some time, through successive turnovers of its Board and a very patient and determined Executive Director, Vicki Mosgrove who has guided the SPCA toward realizing its new shelter with steady a hand.

The Finger Lakes SPCA’s dedication and determination gives us pause to consider how truly difficult bringing a new shelter to fruition can be; and we are buoyed by their driving spirit of compassion and kindness toward the animals they serve.  We were thrilled to be chosen as the animal shelter architects for this project.  The animal shelter design plans even got a cake!

Our second event was held near Brevard, NC.  Transylvania County opened and dedicated its new shelter.  The event was attended by close to 200 supporters.  The designated speaker for the County government, Commission Chair Mike Hawkins recalled the 20 year effort on the part of the County and its citizens to bring the shelter to fruition and the consistent support of the County’s citizens throughout the process.  He cited the incredible efforts of the “Friends of the Shelter” who raised the final $350,000 needed to assure the animal shelter would be built.  He noted contributions from the City of Brevard and the Town of Rosman without which the project would not have achieved success.

Dr. Clyde Brooks, veterinarian and Board Chairman of the Friends of the Shelter followed.  Dr. Brooks recalled the endless volunteer hours that so many citizens had contributed to the fundraising effort and how gracious the County Manager, Staff and County Commissioners had been, encouraging and allowing the “Friends” both the time and opportunity to help get the project across the finish line. This was truly a community effort and, once again, for the benefit of the lost or stray companion animals.

We are so gratified to be part of both of these new shelters. 

So for all of you out there struggling with trying to bring a shelter to your community, take heart!  While it may involve way more time and effort than you imagined, these two examples clearly show; with enough perseverance, your efforts will be rewarded!