The Robin I. Kroogman New Haven Animal Shelter has received a grant of $95,000 to fund its first major remodeling project in three decades.
The second-largest shelter in Connecticut, NHAS — located at 81 Fournier St. — welcomes more than 3,200 visitors and takes in about 1,400 stray dogs and cats annually, housing around 90 to 100 animals at any given time. The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, a foundation dedicated to protecting and improving the welfare of animals as well as promoting veterinary programs and protecting wildlife, invited the shelter to apply for the invitation-only grant. Volunteer charity organization Friends of the NHAS handled the application process, completing the necessary paperwork and advocating for the shelter under the advisement of Municipal Animal Control Officer Joseph Manganiello.
“I sat down with them and we discussed what we thought were the biggest concerns for the shelter,” Manganiello said, referring to Friends of NHAS volunteers.
The renovation plans cover layout alterations as well as general maintenance of the shelter. Deciding how to use the grant money was a collaboration between NHAS and the volunteers.
After some deliberation, the team decided on the following changes: The existing cattery will be relocated to what is currently the reception area to allow more space for visitors to meet the cats, and the old cattery will be converted into a staff office. A small addition will be attached to the cattery to house the reception desk, which will face visitors as they enter the building. The group also plans to enclose the meet-and-greet area for small dogs with a glass partition.
According to Manganiello, when the shelter’s corridors were built back in the 1980s, the builders did not bother with soundproofing.
“The decibel level is extremely high when all the dogs start barking,” Manganiello said.
He added that panels will be positioned on the ceiling to absorb some of the sound. The remaining money will be used for upkeep as needed, such as flooring and paint refurbishments.
Friends of the NHAS President Deb Wan said the organization will continue to play a major role in the remodeling process, coordinating renovation efforts, working with the contractor, the architect and Manganiello to resolve any issues that may arise. The nonprofit will divert donations to cover any outstanding costs if all the grant money is spent before the project’s completion.
Remodeling is set to begin in January at the earliest and February at the latest, according to Manganiello. He added that builders estimate the project will require three months of construction; ideally, it will be completed by March or April.
Construction will commence as soon as the Board of Alders approves the project proposal. Citing the City Services and Environmental Policy Committee’s recommendation in favor of the project, Manganiello said he feels confident about receiving the go-ahead.
“More than likely we will get that approval,” he said. “We just have to go through that process.”