Dover Pet Resource Center to open Saturday

The main reception area is taking shape at the Brandywine Valley’s SPCA Pet Resource Center-Dover Campus. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

DOVER — The sound of barking dogs and the childlike wonder of finding and adopting new furry friends will return to 1757 Horsepond Road for the first time in nearly two decades on Saturday.

The Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA) Pet Resource Center-Dover Campus will open their doors with a grand opening event scheduled for Saturday that will include tours of the facility from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and a ribbon cutting at noon.

“We’re very much looking forward to Saturday,” said Chris Farrall, senior director of operations for the BVSCPA. “It’s been a long time coming. Within a month (our Dover campus) will start having wellness clinics, spay-neuter clinics, pet adoptions, and basically will be a full-service resource center for pets.”

The addition of a Kent County location, one that cost $1.2 million, ensures that the BVSPCA will have locations in all three counties in Delaware.

“We’re thrilled to be opening our Dover Campus as a resource center for the pets and pet families in Kent County and to be taking the final step in our plans to have a full-service shelter and vet clinic in every county,” said Linda Torelli, director of marketing for the Brandywine Valley SPCA. “This will be our fourth location in Delaware, adding to the New Castle Campus, Georgetown Campus and Animal Rescue Center.

A worker squeezes into a small space as he works on a dog kennel on Monday.

“We’ve worked hard to make the campus a welcoming place for pets and people, and we can’t wait to open the doors on Saturday and hear the feedback from the community.”

Once bustling with activity from 1964 until 2001, the former Kent County SPCA building — with several kennels located behind it — served as that organization’s longtime home. Then it moved to a more modern facility in Wyoming 17 years ago and eventually became the First State Animal Center and SPCA.

The property in Dover sat virtually untouched ever since — until BVSPCA began construction bringing the property back to life last spring.

Construction workers have been working diligently to resurrect the main white-painted 1,800-square-foot building that sits on two acres in a wooded area off Horsepond Road.

The BVSPCA had planned on opening its Kent County campus in November 2018. However, officials with the organization decided to expand plans for services to bring its newest SPCA up to the level of its Pet Resource Centers in New Castle and Georgetown.

Ms. Torelli said she is confident they have been able to accomplish that goal.

The refurbished outdoor kennels at the BVSPCA-Dover Campus are ready for dogs to move in this weekend.

“The new Dover Campus will offer a wide range of services not readily available in the county,” she said. “Adoption and services for lost pets are of course a high priority, but we’ll also have a lot of services for pet families. Examples include a full-service, low-cost veterinary clinic and safety net services to help families in times of need, such as a pet food pantry, behavior counseling and housing for pets of domestic violence victims.

“Our goal is to be here for families across the entire life of their pet. We also plan for the campus to be a fun and engaging hub for getting involved to help animals in need with opportunities like humane education for kids, volunteering, and fostering.”

The facility’s 20 holding kennels have been restored and have both indoor and outdoor cages, as well as a play area for the dogs. Not to be outdone, cats will have access to a pair of free-roaming rooms.

Adam Lamb, CEO of the BVSCPA, said the new Pet Resource Center in Kent County is something that Dover-area residents desperately need.

“We’ll be offering intake intervention, which would mean if an owner wants to surrender their pet, they would be able to come to the facility and meet with a staff member who would try to find them resources to keep their animal,” said Mr. Lamb. “If they aren’t able to keep it, then we would be able to take that animal in and make sure that we’re able to place it in a forever home.

“We’ll also provide low-cost pet services, which would be spay and neuter services or low-cost vaccines, and general practice work, which there is a lack of that here in this community, so we feel like that is attributing to the amount of animals that are being surrendered into shelters.”

He added, “Then we’ll also have the housing piece for the stray animals that are coming from Kent County. They’ll be housed in the location so that their owners can come and reclaim them.”

It was just around a year ago when the Horsepond Road facility was filled with black snakes, squirrels and other wildlife. Now, it is about to get a new lease on life as it comes full circle.

The Brandywine Valley SPCA Pet Resource Center-Dover Campus will be officially opening its doors with a grand opening event this Saturday.

“It was already a shelter facility, so it was fantastic for us to go in and bring it back to today’s expectations of a shelter,” Mr. Lamb said.

Ms. Torelli said, “It’s been a long time coming and the building on Horsepond Road was not in great shape. I will say one thing about the building, it’s got good bones and strong shoulders after being vacant for so long.

“It will be great for both the BVSCPA and Kent County to add a third Pet Resource Center in Kent County to the state of Delaware.”