Former Dover SPCA building to be reborn as Pet Resource Center via $500K grant from Petco

Members of the Brandywine Valley SPCA are presented with a $500,000 check from the Petco Foundation on Friday that will allow the organization to open a Pet Resource Center at the old Kent County SPCA building on Horsepond Road in Dover. Submitted photos

DOVER — The barking of dogs and the meowing of cats were no strangers to a property that sits on the southern edge of Horsepond Road in Dover from 1964 until 2001.

The white building with several kennels located behind it was the longtime home of the Kent County SPCA before 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 has sat virtually untouched ever since.

However, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Petco Foundation, the Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA) will be bringing animal activity back to the 1,800-square-foot building that sits on two acres at 1757 Horsepond Road.

Adam Lamb, CEO of the BVSCPA, said his organization will be opening a Pet Resource Center in November at the former SPCA site to serve residents in Kent County.

“We’re allocating these funds from Petco to purchase — which we already have purchased — a building that used to be (the Kent County) SPCA several years ago and we’re going to revitalize that building,” Mr. Lamb said.

“It’s almost 2,000-square-feet on two acres and we’re going to be able to take stray animals at the facility, as well, and we’ll be able to do intake intervention for the general public, so we’re really excited that this is going to be able to help the community here in Delaware.”

This is the site of the former Kent County SPCA building on Horsepond Road in Dover. It is currently undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen as a Pet Resource Center in November.

Mr. Lamb accepted the check for $500,000 at the Petco store at 1575 North DuPont Highway on Friday morning from Rob Held, a Petco district leader for Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware.

The Brandywine Valley SPCA had several of its volunteers on hand at Petco as well as a bunch of rescue dogs who were looking for their forever homes.

“The Petco Foundation is dedicated to supporting organizations that work really hard to save animals’ lives,” Mr. Held said. “When a customer donates at a register at a Petco store, their act of generosity is providing millions across the country with live-saving services for animals.

“Since 1999, we’ve invested over $200 million to support life-saving work for animals.”

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, Rep. Trey Paradee and Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Jim Hosfelt were among the local dignitaries that attended the event.

Filling a need in Kent County

Mr. Lamb said he cannot wait to get started with the new Pet Resource Center. He said it is something that Dover-area residents are in desperate need of.

“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.”

The Pet Resource Center will also feature a pet food pantry and offer behavior counseling for owned pets, as well as humane education initiatives, such as Critter Camp, which is a summer day camp for kids.

The facility will also house stray dogs in their hold period as part of the BVSPCA’s contract with the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare to provide statewide animal services. Adoptions will continue to take place at the existing adoption center in Dover.

Mr. Lamb said stray cats won’t be forgotten about, either.

“We love cats,” he said. “We just worked on legislative work to help impact the life of a cat here in Delaware, which we’re really excited about. We have a program statewide that does TNR (trap-neuter-return) Return to Field program for cats, so it’s a big focus for us.

“Among the animal population across the nation the animals that are dying in shelters is usually the feline population.”

Grant will also help with pet adoptions

A portion of the Petco grant will also help fund the BVSPCA’s Mega Adoption Events in 2019 and 2020.

These events, which began in December 2016, place more than 1,000 animals with families in two days. Including the most recent event last month, the four Mega events have placed 4,061 homeless animals with families.

This next Mega Adoption Event will take place on December 8 and 9 at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.

“The Petco Foundation is proud to support the lifesaving efforts of the Brandywine Valley SPCA,” said Susanne Kogut, Petco Foundation president. “We hope this investment will enable the Brandywine Valley SPCA to continue and expand its impactful and lifesaving efforts, saving and bettering the lives of animals in need across the region.”

Looking to the future

As for bringing the former Kent County SPCA building back to life, Mr. Lamb said its’ history has been a help toward reaching to the future.

“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 and that’s why we’re going to be able to open it up in November,” he said.

“It was pretty run down and they’ve already demolished everything and they’ve already started the framing. It’s definitely going to be a project, but that’s why this $500,000 is going to be able to help us do that.”

The opening of the Pet Resource Center will allow BVSPCA to have a presence in all three counties in Delaware.

“We’re excited to be executing the next phase of our strategic plan for serving communities across the state by expanding services in Kent County,” said Mr. Lamb. “Petco Foundation’s past support has been pivotal to our success and we appreciate the foundation’s continued confidence and collaboration as we grow to help even more animals.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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