Humane Society Calumet Area, PAWS merging immediately
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent August 13, 2012 9:20PM
For more information about Lakeshore PAWS, visit www.lakeshorepaws.org.
Updated: September 15, 2012 6:18AM
Porter-County based Lakeshore PAWS and the Humane Society Calumet Area, with a facility in Munster, merged Monday evening.
Both of the not-for-profits’ boards voted unanimously for the merge. The merger takes effect immediately, though the two agencies will remain separate entities.
The merger is not expected to impact nascent discussions between Lakeshore PAWS and Porter County for a new shelter. Lakeshore and the Board of Commissioners signed a letter of intent in June, under which Lakeshore would provide shelter services to the county under contract.
“My understanding is, it won’t change anything,” said County Councilwoman Laura Blaney, D-At-large, a former member of the now-dissolved Animal Shelter Advisory Board, who has remained active in moving the county toward realizing a new shelter.
Calumet, founded in 1941, can offer resources to Lakeshore as it moves forward with a new shelter, said Rachel Delaney, Calumet’s executive director.
“We can change animal welfare for Northwest Indiana as a whole, and not by municipality,” she said, adding the result would help a greater number of animals.
Jeanne Sommer, co-founder and executive director of Lakeshore, said the organization is “really excited to partner with such an established and knowledgeable team of animal professionals.” The new shelter will be no-kill.
Blaney, who has been working with an anonymous donor through the Porter County Community Foundation willing to match donations toward a new facility, said that person would work with the merged organization. “The donor just wants to see a new shelter.”
The county paid the consulting firm Shelter Planners of America $6,500 for a feasibility study on a new shelter.
While the existing shelter, at 2056 Heavlin Road in Valparaiso, is about 4,000 square feet, the new one would be around 10,500 feet, with an additional 3,200 square feet of exterior space for dog runs and the like, according to the study.
Under the letter of intent between Lakeshore and the county, Lakeshore will pay for a new facility – Shelter Planners put the price tag at $2.9 million — and the county will provide the land.
The county is considering donating five acres of a larger parcel of land that it owns at Ind. 149 and Ind. 130, said John Evans, R-North, president of the board of commissioners.
“The existing shelter would become home to animal control,” Evans said, adding someone from the new shelter would evaluate those animals to determine which ones were adoptable. Shelter Planners recommended separate facilities for the shelter and animal control.