ShareThis Page
New Ken’s no-kill shelter runs out of room |

New Ken’s no-kill shelter runs out of room

Michael Aubele
| Saturday, July 21, 2001 12:00 a.m

NEW KENSINGTON: A city animal shelter struggling to accommodate the number of cats and dogs brought through its doors is looking to expand but could be hindered by two obstacles – money and a flood zone.

Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, according to board members, is keeping far more animals than its capacity – a problem most no-kill shelters face.

To remedy the situation, board members are exploring options, including expanding the shelter along Linden Avenue or moving part or all of the operation to a larger facility.

Board members are uncertain what they will do but said they favor expansion and have petitioned city council for support.

‘We’re running out of space,’ board member Janet Rader said. ‘We’d like to add on, but the building obviously is in a flood plain. If we can’t add on, we don’t know what we’re going to do.’

Expanding the shelter, according to city officials, could be a problem because the building sits in a 100-year flood plain. An Urban Renewal Plan that covers the area stipulates where and how things can be built.

According to city officials, feasible options for expanding exist, including building on pylons over what now is the parking lot or possibly adding a second story.

The shelter is slightly less than 3,000 square feet, according to board members.

The city owns the property the shelter sits on and leases the building to Animal Protectors for $1 per year.

Rader said board members would like an extended lease from the city and most likely would not modify the building if the lease can’t be lengthy.

How New Ken can help

According to Councilwoman Kim McAfoose, city council could pursue several options. One would be to provide the long-term lease on the building and outline the financial commitment of the city. Another would be for the city to sell the building to the group for a nominal fee.

Animal Protectors acts as the animal control officer for the city. City officials acknowledge the importance of the service and express a desire to support the shelter.

Last year, the city lent the shelter about $18,000, including the cost of maintenance on the building and a $375 monthly animal control fee.

But the shelter, which depends on donations and volunteers, has struggled to make ends meet.

The only paid staff, according to board members, are the people who clean the shelter.

Board members said the possible expansion of the shelter would not happen without a successful fund-raiser. A major capital fund drive is essential to the success of the expansion, they said.

Other no-kill shelters face similar struggles.

According to a spokeswoman for Animal Friends in Pittsburgh, no-kill shelters constantly are asked to stretch their means.

‘When you’re full, you’re full, but the requests keep coming in,’ she said.

Elaine Gower, humane officer for Action for Animals in Derry, said her no-kill shelter is forced to turn down animals daily.

The shelter doesn’t act as animal control for Derry and is not required to take in the animals but has expanded twice.

According to board members, Animal Protectors is at almost at double its capacity. The shelter has the capacity to house 25 cats and 25 dogs but is holding about 50 cats and 35 dogs, according to board members.

‘Even if we had the Citizens General Hospital building, we’d probably run out of space,’ Rader said.

But an animal finding a home makes the strain bearable, board members said. Last year about 350 dogs and an equal number of cats were adopted.

As required by state law, each animal taken in by the shelter is spayed or neutered before it is given a new home.

Michael Aubele can be reached at

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.