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Animal Shelter Blog 

Entries by Shelterplanners (22)


Natchez-Adams Humane Society gets a new shelter!


Catawba County Animal Services Facility - Leed Educational Video


Forsyth County, Georgia Animal Shelter 

We are proud to announce the completion of the Forsyth County, Georgia Animal Shelter!


Forsyth County, Georgia operated its animal shelter for many years via a contract with a local veterinarian who had, at one time, sufficient space to accommodate their needs.  Due to rapid growth during the last decade, the arrangement became stressed and the County was implored by the local SPCA and various rescue groups to build a new shelter.

Shelterplanners teamed with local design group RKS Green Consultants ( to design the new shelter. Shelterplanners led the County’s “Shelter Committee” through a complex shelter sizing and programming study process that ultimately achieved consensus leading to shelter planning accomodating the diverse interests of all the groups.

Completion of the sizing and programming was quickly followed by the submittal of a schematic design that met the County’s needs and satisfied everyone's concerns. 

After only three months of design, the project was bid within the propsed budget and construction began March 20, 2013. The ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening was held on Augst 22. 2014. 
Animal Control's operatons are separated from the Adoption Center permitting ACO's to perform their duties concomittently with ongoing Adoption Services.  The shelter has experienced an immediate increase in its public visits and adoptions.  

A veterinary clinic- spay/neuter suite is included as well as education/training space shared by both Animal Control and the Adoption Center.  98 Dogs are housed in a variety of indoor-outdoor kennel sizes and 96 cats are provided the latest in accommodations including portaled “condos” and “apartments” permitting communal living.

Beacuse of anticipated growth Shelterplanners included master planning that will enable the County to respond with planned additions as conditions warrant with little impact on the ongoing operation of Animal Control and the Adoption Center.


Shelterplanners teamed with local design group RKS Green Consultants to design the new shelter. Shelterplanners led the County’s “Shelter Committee” through a complex shelter sizing and programming study process that ultimately achieved consensus leading to shelter planning accomodating the diverse interests of all the groups.


Animal Shelter Plans - More Than a Fancy New Building 

Animal Shelter Architects Should Strongly Consider First Impressions

Animal Shelter Plans 

Animal shelter plans must account for human psychology’s role in how the community’s animal shelter is perceived.  You know the saying, ‘You only have one chance to make a first impression.’  When designing and planning an animal shelter, the animal shelter architect should imagine the initial impression of a potential adopter/donor/community member.  What will he or she think the first time they tour the building?  Imagine the guest arriving in the parking; walking along the sidewalk to the entrance; entering the shelter for the first time. What does he or she experience?

Animal Shelter Plans - A Warm and Welcoming Lobby Area is Crucial

Both the animal shelter plans and animal shelter building must convey a sense of comfort.  The shelter should be an inviting, low stress environment that provides a sense of well-being.  It should have lots of natural light, live plants, and present the animals in an attractive manner which encourages their adoptions; putting the animals’ best foot forward (no pun intended).

At Shelterplanners, our animal shelter architects incorporate several design considerations when determining how to give the shelter the best chance to be a success in the community.  A few design considerations include:

  •  How are animals received and housed?
  •  How is the building cleaned and disinfected?
  •  How is sound controlled?
  •  How are guests greeted?  

Your animal shelter architect should take time to understand your vision, your procedures and workflows, and the human psychology element of designing an animal shelter.  Unfortunately, improving adoption rates and operating a successful animal shelter is about more than a pretty, new building.  There are several custom variables that need to be addressed prior to designing and planning a shelter.  These building are highly specialized. It takes an experienced team of architects and builders to deliver a building that gives the animals and the community the best chance to succeed.  


Go from Planning an Animal Shelter to Building an Animal Shelter

Animal Shelter Plans Should Involve Increasing Community Awareness!

It’s exciting to review animal shelter plans and animal shelter designs, but whether the design becomes an actual physical animal shelter building often hinges on one very important question: Is the majority of your community aware of the dire conditions at the animal shelter?

Because you are passionate about helping animals, you probably think that the entire community is just as educated about the dire conditions.  It’s easy to assume that everyone has the same information as you.  You probably say, “Of course my community is aware of the low adoption rates, the high kill rates, and the overall poor conditions at the local animal shelter.” However, recent research indicates otherwise.

A recent PetSmart Charity survey revealed that only 42% of the general population is aware of the pet overpopulation problem in the United States.  88% of respondents underestimate the number of pets euthanized annually.  While it’s always a good idea to take survey results with a pinch of salt, these numbers cannot and should not be ignored!



While the amazing staff and volunteers pour every ounce of energy into saving animals, they often neglect educating the community.  As we’ve mentioned several times in the past: without community support, it’s highly unlikely that any major improvements will happen at the shelter. 

Here are two effective and cost efficient ways to increase community awareness:

1) Gather Statistics and Broadcast via Social Media

You don’t need to be overly dramatic; simply state facts and broadcast these facts on your social media channels (Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter) with a call to action.  For example:

"Did you know Acme County Animal Shelter Kills 77% of the pets that enter the facility?  For more information on how you can help improve Acme County’s animal care, please contact Jane Doe at xyz."

Use our Free Report to collect your statistics and broadcast the results.  Continue to gather statistics about your shelter – the more statistics you have about the shelter, the more you’re able to build your case for support. 

2)  Schedule a Field Trip for Community Leaders

Here’s a recent quote from a community leader:

“I don’t think we truly get the impact you make in the county when we’re sitting around the budget table and we look at a five or six-figure request,” Parker said. “It doesn’t have the personality that being here does.”

Kindly request the community leader take a tour of the shelter.  If the community member can’t make it, why not video tape the shelter and upload the video to YouTube and broadcast it on your social media channels?

It’s up to your shelter’s leaders to increase awareness and community support.  When a community asks, “How can I help?” be ready with your animal shelter plans to show your vision for the future.