Animal lovers showed their excitement Saturday over the opening of the new Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare Center.
On Monday, the $3 million facility will begin accepting animals, although the animals at the current shelter will probably stay there for a while more -- or until they are adopted.
Among many other improvements at the new shelter, dogs will have pens that will allow them to step out into the sunshine. Cats will have “cat condos” that include a separate ventilated section for the litter box.
At least 250 people came out Saturday for the Fur Babies Shower, in which people were given a tour of the new facility and asked to bring donations such as pet food and toys. The turnout and number of donations was much better than had been expected, said Cson Johnson, the shelter manager.
People were asked to bring donations such as dog food, cat food and toys, and nearly everyone who came brought something. Many brought much more than a bag or two of food.
Loretta Lynn, her daughter Kathy Lynn and their friend Janice Murphy rolled up with a full-size pickup about half loaded with donations. After unloading and getting a tour of the place, they gave it a big thumbs up.
“The other place was like a jail,” Kathy Lynn said. “This is more like a home.”
Lynn said she supports the shelter because last year she and her mom picked up 13 stray dogs. They found homes for every one of them, but she said it was “hugely expensive.”
“It’s just a sad thing for dogs not to have a home,” she said.
The sales tax dollars that paid for the construction weren’t enough to cover everything needed. One big item still lacking was a refrigerator, but that got taken care of Saturday as well. One of the shelter’s loyal volunteers, Cherie Bland, had worked so hard to put together the event that her husband, Ronnie, asked what he could do, Johnson said. Someone mentioned they still needed a fridge, so he went out and bought one.
The new facility includes a room for surgeries and a room where people can play with a dog or cat they may be considering adopting.
Asked to sum up how much better the new facility will be, Johnson replied, “There are not many words for that. This far exceeds our expectations.”
Anyone who couldn’t make it to the shelter Saturday but who still wants to donate can do so by dropping off items at the facility on Fulton Mill Road.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.