State funds totalling $363,030 will help the Humane Society's animal shelter in Hopewell make major improvements

Think cat condos, private runs for dogs and a play yard. The Ontario County Humane SocietyHappy Tails animal shelter in Hopewell is in line for these upgrades and more thanks to funds announced Wednesday.

Ontario County Humane Society will receive $363,030 through the state’s Companion Animal Capital fund. The humane society will share in $1.4 million awarded to 12 shelters statewide.

Happy Tails Shelter manager Dianne Faas said it’s exciting news for everyone at the humane society. The funds will allow much needed improvements to reduce overcrowding and create a healthier environment for the animals, she said. Cats will have condos — quarters with their litter and sleeping areas separate — while dogs will have new indoor, outdoor runs, and an outdoor play area. Funds will also pay for repairing kennels and epoxy surfaces. Faas said new surfaces on walls and ceilings will make for a more sanitary environment and fit Cornell University recommendations. The shelter will also receive a new HVAC system.

Ontario County Humane Society was one of three humane societies awarded in the Finger Lakes region. The Humane Society of Yates County in Penn Yan received $500,000 to build an addition for modern dog kennels, purchase sound panels, improve drainage, install in-floor heating, install a new HVAC system and build enclosed outdoor runs. In Livingston County, the shelter in Mt. Morris received $112,500 for a new intake area for new dogs, replacing old kennels, adding four new isolation kennels, adding four new primary enclosures for overflow, and building an attached and enclosed garage.

This is the third round of the Companion Animal Capital Fund, the first state-funded program in the nation to support critical improvement projects at animal shelters, stated the release from state Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball.

Competitive grants were awarded to shelters based on need and the readiness of projects.

“Over the last several months we have visited a number of shelter renovation and expansion projects that have been completed thanks to the Companion Animal Capital Fund. The funding is making a true difference, helping these organizations make critical upgrades that mean better care for New York’s animals as they await their forever homes,” stated the commissioner. “We are proud to announce this latest round, which will build on the successes we have seen so far.”

The fund provides matching grants to offset the costs associated with capital projects such as renovating dog kennels, improving medical facilities, or building more efficient shelters to reduce overall operational costs. Funds are also used to construct, renovate, rehabilitate, or acquire buildings or equipment needed to house, treat, and care for sheltered dogs and cats.