$5 million expansion project to triple the number of animals adopted at Pinellas County shelter

The Humane Society of Pinellas County is about to begin construction on a new adoption facility that will more than double the center’s capacity and help thousands of additional animals find forever families.

Humane Society of Pinellas County CEO Jeff Voelpel said their current operation holds about 120 animals at any given time, including cats, dogs, rabbits and hamsters. The new facility will double that number, Voelpel said.

Right now, workers are spread out in various buildings with kennels and adoption services, mobile storage containers for pet food donations, and rented space for administration offices and a medical center.

“We’re operating basically out of four different locations to get everything done. But the good news is that we’re able to do everything that we always have been,” Voelpel stated. “We’ve been here for almost 72 years now. The need was very evident. This property was numerous buildings as old as 70-something years, several of which were condemned and had been destroyed since Hurricane Michael.”

The nonprofit received a $4 million donation in 2019 that’s jump-starting major changes. Construction on a new 15,000 square foot adoption center is expected to begin this summer.

“The new shelter is going to give the opportunity to not only have air conditioning but category 5 standard windows to withstand a hurricane and even a generator. So God forbid, if the power were to go out, we’d never lose power,” said Voelpel.

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The construction is expected to cost about $5 million, and the facility will span three floors on the current property of the existing Humane Society of Pinellas County offices on State Road 590 in Clearwater.

Voelpel said the new building will help them take on more of the community’s needs and triple the number of adoptions.

“This year we will adopt probably approximately say 1,300 animals in a very limited facility that we have. When the new adoption center opens up, I will anticipate we’ll do close to 3,000 to 4,000 animals in our first year,” explained Voelpel.

The nonprofit expects construction to last about one year. After the adoption center is complete, Voelpel said a second building will be built for a medical center on the property to bring all the services to the same location.

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