Midcoast Humane fundraising for new Brunswick animal shelter

Midcoast Humane is launching a $6 million capital campaign to fund the renovation of a new facility to replace the one at Range Road in Brunswick.

“The pets in our care deserve an up-to-date, humane, safe facility designed to meet their needs,” Midcoast Humane Executive Director Jess Townsend stated in a press release. “We have been serving Midcoast Maine for over 70 years without meaningful updates to our facilities. The shelter at Range Road is simply no longer adequate. For the health and wellness of the animals in our care, we need to move them to a new facility, one that serves them better.”

The animal shelter was founded in 1950 and operated in an old barn near the current shelter at 30 Range Road. The facility has grown since, but it has had no significant repairs and does not reflect current housing standards for animal care, according to Midcoast Humane.

“Over the years we have had to add trailers and sheds to the Range Road property to accommodate the growing number of animals we serve. We’ve reached the point where continuing to operate out of this building is neither practical nor efficient,” stated Board President Bill Muldoon. “The facility has served us well, but for too long. It is time for the animals of Midcoast Maine to have the shelter they deserve.”

The leadership and board of directors of Midcoast Humane have been considering a move to a new facility for several years, according to the release. In 2018, Midcoast Humane planned to build a new shelter at Brunswick Landing, but environmental testing revealed high levels of PFAS — chemicals that can be harmful to humans and animals — in the soil and the project was put on hold.

Two years later, Midcoast Humane leadership discovered a property for sale at 5 Industrial Parkway in Brunswick. The building was the right size, located just 1.5 miles from the Range Road shelter, surrounded by green areas for walking dogs and had all the right features, according to the nonprofit.

Midcoast Humane entered into an agreement in March 2020. Construction began a year later after receiving two, anonymous $1 million donations and a collection of donations from the previous capital campaign.

“To date, we have raised over $3,300,000 of our $6 million goal,” said Director of Development Michelle Zichella. “That is an incredible achievement, but ultimately we need help from
our friends, neighbors and supporters to reach our goal. We are going from a facility that was built to accommodate a very old-fashioned concept of animal sheltering to a facility that has been designed not only to maximize operational efficiency, but also to provide the animals in our care with the best conditions possible.”

Specific features of the future shelter include a new HVAC system for optimum climate control and comfort, a modern surgical suite with new equipment to allow medical staff to perform additional procedures in-house, a large parking lot to accommodate more visitors, group cat rooms outfitted with climbing platforms and spacious dog yards so that dogs can get plenty of exercise.

“Many people think we are affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States, and assume we receive funding from them, but that is not the case,” Zichella stated. “In reality, we are a small nonprofit organization with an essential mission, hardworking staff, dedicated volunteers, and an incredible amount of responsibility to care for thousands of animals. The bulk of our funding comes from private donors who want to help animals in need.”

Naming opportunities are available at multiple levels, including cat condos, dog runs, the cat wing, and the building itself, and pledges to be paid over the five years are welcomed and encouraged.

“This year, we are asking our supporters to consider a gift to the capital campaign in addition to their annual gifts that the shelter relies on to operate,” Zichella stated. “We would love to have more million-dollar donors step forward, but in all likelihood, this facility will be built on thousands of smaller donations that come in from our supporters.”

Midcoast Humane operates two campuses and contracts with 39 municipalities from Falmouth to Somerville. The new facility will consolidate the Brunswick shelter and the administrative office, and the sheltering facility in Edgecomb will continue to operate without interruption, according to the nonprofit.

“We serve a large population outside of the Brunswick area,” Townsend stated. “It is critically important that we continue to be able to provide local services to our communities – to be the dependable support system for animals and pet owners in need.”

Townsend continued: “The new facility will allow us to serve all of the animals. We care for better, no matter where they come from. If we take in a stray cat or dog or a group of animals from a state seizure in Lincoln County, those animals will also benefit from the new facility. The fluidity of our organization allows us to move animals to the site that will be best for them. For some of those animals, that location is Brunswick, and for others it is Edgecomb.”

Midcoast Humane plans to move into the new facility once renovations are complete in the second quarter of 2022. The shelter at 30 Range Road and the administrative office at 190 Pleasant St. will be sold to help cover the cost of renovations.

For more information about the capital campaign and how to help, visit midcoasthumane.org.

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