They declined comment, of course, but most of the 30 canines and 28 felines that were escorted to their new residence Tuesday morning appeared to be purr-fectly pleased.

Washington Area Humane Society’s new building was, initially, a howling success among the furry four-legged denizens. They moved from their cramped, outdated facility – which will be razed soon – into the 10,000-square-foot structure that was erected on the hill above it, and which is 33% larger and certainly spiffier.

“We are beyond excited about our new home,” said Kelly Proudfit, the executive director, who oversaw construction on the society’s five-acre site off Route 136 in North Strabane Township.

Ground was broken in September 2018 and the project took a little more than 15 months, slightly longer than Proudfit initially estimated. Yet she is thrilled the building is up and going – and will open to the public Friday.

“This is a fresh beginning for the Washington Area Humane Society,” she said. “The next month, we will be working out all of the operational kinks.”

Proudfit describes it as a state-of-the-art center that can accommodate 60 dogs and 60 cats, about 10 more of each than the 7,500-square-foot center. Amenities include a surgery/clinic for spaying, neutering and vaccination; kennels with heated floors; cat condos; an education room for events and group activities; an isolation unit for ailing dogs and cats; and meet-and-greet and play yards for animal enrichment.

It was a $5 million project that required numerous donations, including a $1.5 million capital campaign called “New Home, New Hope.” One anonymous donor provided a major boost, matching other donations dollar for dollar up to $50,000. The nonprofit also established a donor wall in the Education Room, where, for $100, an individual got a three-inch metal dog tag inscribed in memory of a family member or pet.

The humane society, however, attained its financial goals.

“Thank you to everyone who supported our ‘New Home, New Hope’ capital campaign and made this a reality,” Proudfit said.

She has planned several events, including a donor preview and, in February, a ribbon cutting followed by a public grand opening, which will include public tours of the facility.

Humane society hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The facility is closed Sundays and Mondays.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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