OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — During the pandemic, the demand for pets skyrocketed but due to the virus, many shelters were closed for browsing to the public. Now that things are getting back normal, and some renovations have been completed, the Nebraska Humane Society (NHS) is ready to reopen its doors to people seeking their next furry, feathered or scaly family member.
According to a release from NHS, its newly-renovated adoption space is set to reopen on Thursday, July 1.
Prior to this, all adoption appointments were set up online after potential pet parents browsed the NHS website.
NHS shared the following regarding the renovations:
Beginning July 1, 2020 NHS is fully open to the public in our new renovated space!
Since opening the Lied Humane Center building in February of 2000, we've served more than 450,000 animals who required surgeries, shelter, grooming, training, rehabilitation and more to get back on their feet. To stay at the top in our field, and to honor long time CEO Judy Varner, key donors funded a $14.1 million dollar endeavor, named The Judy Varner Adoption and Education Center. The work began in December of 2018 and was completed during the pandemic.
· Renovated 37,107 square feet, which is 45% of our existing shelter.
· Added 12,000 square feet of new animal housing space.
· The changes should reduce stress and length of stay for the animals.
· Transform the way public views, accesses and interacts with adoptable animals.
Cats: Taller condos allow for instinctive vertical movement, lowering stress and providing a natural living environment. Immersive group rooms encourage potential adopters to interact and spend quality time. Other shelters that have implemented such changes have experienced a lower stress rate among cats, a 50% increase in adoption rates and a 60% reduction in the spread of diseases.
· Large, free roaming group rooms.
· Tall cat condos with vertical space to leap and perch.
· A dedicated cat enrichment room.
· A second-floor cat village.
Dogs: Over the past 20 years, our dog population has changed. We are now sheltering more dogs who are fearful, lack training and require behavior modification. The renovated dog spaces provide the public with supervised, direct access to these dogs' kennels, increasing the opportunity for expeditious adoptions.
· House dogs in groups according to size and temperament.
· Reconfigure individual kennel spaces to reduce stress.
· Improve acoustics and lighting to reduce stress.
· Allow potential adopters access to see and interact with difficult to place dogs.
Critters: The Judy Varner Adoption and Education Center provides new and separate accommodations for prey species (i.e., cats, dogs, ferrets). Mammals and exotics have their own enclosed adoption space as a 10% increase of these species is expected by shelters in the years to come.
· New and separate accommodations for prey species.
· Separate enclosed space for mammals and exotics.
Humans: Interactive education stations promote and support responsible pet ownership, animal care and training tips, and facilitate adoptions.
· A more efficient adoption process.
· Electronic technology stations.
· Digital messaging promotes responsible pet ownership and provides care and training tips.