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ARC has big plans for the new year

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jan 6, 2021

news@breezenewspapers.com

The year 2020 was a tough one for the Animal Refuge Center, with donations down while the number of animals in their care up as people could no longer afford to keep their pets.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel as 2021 begins, with two huge additions set to come to make ARC one of the best-equipped no-kill shelters anywhere.

ARC has big plans for the new year, which include a new 4,000-square-foot cat building and a state-of-the-art medical treatment center, both of which will enable ARC to save and rehabilitate more lives and match more animals with families.

“The cat house has gotten started and will be done before the treatment center, which is still in the permitting process,” said treasurer Betty Hughes.

The cat house should be finished by the end of March. It will house 80 cats (40 on each side). It will cost about $180,000 and was fully funded by two anonymous donors who bequeathed their donations through estates.

The new medical center will be about 3,500 square feet and will replace what was an old rental home that is no longer sufficient for ARC’s needs, Hughes said.

“Anything our cats and dogs need can be taken care of in this facility, with the exception of complicated, orthopedic surgical procedures,” Hughes said.

The actual medical facility is expected to cost $400,000 and was fully funded through a generous gift by an anonymous donor.

While the past year was a challenge for ARC, supporters have shown once again how much they care, even if giving was a little down this year.

Unfortunately, whenever there is an economic downturn, pets end up being the big losers as owners can no longer afford to care for them or have to move and cannot take the pet with them.

While some who were quarantined got some joy out of adopting a pet, there weren’t enough to take pressure off ARC.

“We saw a lot of people leaving the state for jobs; you can’t take your pet with you when you don’t know where you’re going or what kind of housing you’ll find,” Hughes said. “Pets tend to be the first who are given up.”

People also weren’t having their pets spayed or neutered, especially cats.

“We have never seen this tsunami of kittens and we’re not sure why. Mother cats are coming in pregnant or with babies and the owners couldn’t get them fixed,” said Hughes, who is caring for a litter found in a bag on the side of the road.

ARC is always looking for donations from generous people, no matter how small the contribution. Last year, ARC saw its Casino Night cancelled and its Starlight Auction, its biggest fundraiser, limited to 120 people, which raised $145,000, an great number considering the circumstances, but far short of what it raised previously.

ARC is at 18011 Old Bayshore Road. For more information or to make a donation visit animalrefugecenter.com.