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'Best facility probably in Canada': Humane Society breaks ground, launches capital campaign

A major step forward for animal care in the London region was taken Tuesday, as ground was broken on a new state-of-the-art London Middlesex Humane Society headquarters.

Among those on hand was the beloved one-eyed rescue cat Fury, who was adopted by a Humane Society employee three years ago. The friendly feline wore a miniature hard-hat and was one of those on hand for the formal launch the new capital campaign.

“She’s our little unofficial spokesmodel,” said proud cat mom Jen Rushton, who is also the Humane Society’s finance and operations coordinator. “She’s come out to a few of our events now, and we’re just so, so excited to be able to do this for many thousands and thousands of more animals that need this kind of care, with high-tech technology. The best facility probably in Canada.”

With half the funds already raised toward the $21 million project, the capital campaign, dubbed ‘New Home, New Hope’ hopes to raise $10 million.

The state-of-the-art facility at 1414 Dundas Street in London, Ont. will be named Old Oak Animal Campus in recognition of land and financial contributions from London-based Old Oak Properties.

Capital campaign director Lindsay McDermott told CTV News the facility will be so much more than just a shelter and adoption centre.

“The facility is going to support our animals and our community with a variety of wonderful community oriented spaces, an on-site companion animal hospital, an education centre [and] a wonderful new adoption centre.”

The existing Humane Society headquarters on Clarke Road was built in the early 1980s, but includes parts of the original structure, built in the late 1800s. The Humane Society has been at the property for 125 years, according to Humane Society officials.

The site is only big enough to shelter 175 animals, but regularly houses well over 200. The new home, at 37,000 sq. ft. and on eleven acres of property, will be four times the size, according to executive director Steve Ryall.

“Facility will be able to hold 400 animals comfortably still, and provide those services. It’s never been greater,” said Ryan. “There’s a lineup today to get into the shelter for different animals. We’re able to provide better care with our own vet clinic, which will be onsite. And we won’t have to do those logistics of moving animals to nine different (veterinary clinics) across the city and outside the city as well.”

The new Old Oak Animal Campus is expected to be move-in ready by the summer of 2023. Top Stories

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