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June 24, 2008     Cape Gazette
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June 24, 2008

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Cape Gazette Cape Life TUESDAY, JUNE 24 - THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2008 ,lS I All paws on deck as Safe Haven digs in Area's first no-kill animal shelter moves forward with green building Visionaries supporting southern Delaware's first no-kill animal shelter gathered June 13 for a celebration: the for- mal dedication of the site that will serve as home for their innovative facility. Once completed, The Safe Haven Sanc- tuary will offer a warm and inviting envi- ronment for cats, dogs and pet seekers to create a community where animals will have a safety net until they are adopted - no matter how long that takes. The idea has gained support expressed in the remarks at the site dedication from a wide range of elected officials. "What you're doing is a great thing," said Sen. Tom Carper. "You're creating a safe haven for animals that deserve to be safe not only for the sake of their lives but because they also touch the lives of so nany people." Safe Haven board Chairman Hal Dukes said the long-awaited project is finally be- coming a reali. The board has opened temporary headquarters in Milton. A cap- ital campaign will begin soon to raise the $4 million needed for the construction of the 19,000-square-foot environmentally friendly facility. Safe Haven's "green" building will be the first structure in Sussex County to meet standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit organization that established a system known by its acronym, LEED, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Award-winning architect David Q_uillin's design incorporates environ- mentally sound aspects, including solar, geothermal heating, recycled materials, a temperature-moderating courtyard and a vegetative roof. ',cquiring and having access to the site were essential first steps in order to pro- vide confidence to donors that this proj- ect will become a reality," he said. "Now that these 14 acres have been secured and permits are completed, we can move for- ward with our capital fund raising." Thanks to the generosity of the Sussex County community and foundations, work on the property has already begun with the completion of the road, bridge over the wetlands, land preparation and a retention pond. The Safe Haven facility will be staffed by volunteers and employ approximately 12 people, including veterinarians. It will serve as a home for up to 400 cats and dogs at any given time in a no-kill envi- ronment that will be vastly different from typical shelters, The sanctuary expects to handle up to 2,000 animal cases each year, with most animals f'mding adopted homes locally and some pets going to no-kill facilities in northern New England. Staff and volun- teers will reach out to thousands of other animals and people each year though spay-neuter programs and animal reten- tion services. "Our primary objective is to place ani- mals with loving families, while reducing the number of cats and dogs through an aggressive low-cost spay-neuter pro- gram," said Executive Director Anne Gryczon. She said this is a proven, truly humane approach to animal control that has worked well in other communities across the nation. "Once you reach a tipping point in spay-neuter activity, the home- less animal population drops significant- ly," she added. Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, applauded the group for its efforts and vision of animal control. "Continue to be advocates for those who can't advocate for themselves," he said. He added that he would pursue state legislation to make Delaware an official no-kill state, making it the first in the na- tion. Kate Rohrer, representing Rep. Michael N. Castle, also shared words of encour- agement at the ceremony that involved a "Doggy Dig" at the spot that will be the front door of the sanctuary. Sussex County Councilman Lynn Rogers, who has adopted five Dalmatians as part of a rescue operation, said the fa- cility is sorely needed. "Keep getting the message out and you'll have more support. "You'll need to enlarge this facility be- fore you even build it." STEVEN BILLUPS PHOTOS SEN. TOM CARPER takes a seat on the excavator with Maya by his side at the Safe Haven Sanctuary dig-in festivities. Gathered in front of the equipment that will do the real work on the site are animal supporters (I-r) Lynn Rogers, Sussex County councilman; Sen. Tom Carper;, Anne Gryczon, Safe Haven executive director; Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth leach; and Hal Dukes, Safe Haven board president.