About half of the work was completed on the new Simcoe and District Humane Society building before the COVID-19 shutdown went into place.
A ground-breaking ceremony took place on Dec. 3, 2019, with the original goal of completion being the spring of 2020.
The 24 Grigg Dr., Simcoe, land was purchased by the humane society in 2004. Since then, staff and volunteers have been running the program out of two trailers on the property, and fundraising to have a permanent building on the site.
“We were so excited when we started to put the building up in January and February,” said president Cathie Hosken outside of the half-completed building on Friday. “We got halfway done, we’ve spent all of our money.”
During the ground-breaking ceremony, the biggest worry regarding completion was cooperation from the weather, with no talk of COVID-19 being a possible concern.
“COVID-19 hit non-profits different than a lot of businesses,” said Hosken. “For many non-profits that work with animals, there’s not a lot of funding out there.”
With the animals’ wellbeing put over the building, the budget since March has been used to help low-income families to keep their pets at home, and other medical and emergency funding for animals in need.
“We have found so many more owners in desperate circumstances, and the animals that have needed to come into care have been in dire straits,” said Hosken. “The needs of people have tripled as we deal with people who need help with food, our goal this year has really been keeping the animals with their owners.”
The bones of the building are complete, but a lot of work is still needed in order for it to be used. Hosken walked through the empty building pointing out where the kennels, exam rooms, and offices will eventually be.
2020 was set to be the fund-raising year to complete the project, but due to the financial burden the pandemic has placed on everyone, that hasn’t happened.
“Our society has really felt the decline of donations, and we have certainly felt the decline of fundraising,” said Hosken. “All of our hopes for having our building done this year is certainly a little bit desperate.”
Virginia (Gypsy) Moore of Simcoe, who died in 2019, was among the donors to the initial part of project. She left $300,000 of her estate to the society which helped push forward the first half of the building.
More funds are needed to complete the project. An estimated $300,000 more is required to complete the building.
A donation button can be found on the website at www.simcoedhumane.ca.