- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - While some work remains to be finished, the Terre Haute Humane Society opened its new facility along Fruitridge Avenue to the public Wednesday - a shelter that its proponents say features more efficiency and some modern twists.

It was constructed adjacent to the former shelter, which will be torn down.

Among projects left to complete are erecting more animal pens. And some of the work yet to be done is unique - such as installation of equipment for an iPet Room and a Cat Cafe.

“The iPet Companion is an entire system given to us,” said Fred Strohm, operations manager. “We will mount up the camera in the corner of the room and then hang up the toys which connect to it wirelessly. Then people can go to our website and hit buttons to make the toys move, so you can watch and play with the cats in this room online from the comfort of your couch.”

Strohm said each online play time will be 90 seconds.

As Strohm walked through the building, several door frames still had construction masking tape designating the room. Strohm peeled off masking tape that read, “CatFe,” which marked the space for a cat cafe.

“It is a stolen concept,” Strohm said of the cat cafe idea. “Ours is a little inverse of others which are coffee shops that have adoptable cats from pet shelters, whereas we are the shelter, but we have refreshments. The idea is, say you live in an apartment and you can’t have cats, or you are student and need your cat fixed, you can bring your laptop, your tablet or book and come in here and hang out with the cats while you do homework.”

Freewill-donated refreshments and public WiFi will support the cafe, Strohm said. “We will have some comfortable couches. … We hope to make it a comfortable sitting space.

“One of the differences in the new building versus the other is we used to do adoptions and animal take-ins all from the front. Here we will have adoptions up front and intakes in the rear,” he said. Intakes are from county or city animal control officers or owner-relinquished pets.

The building, Strohm said, “is much more efficient, and will be more easily cleaned and maintained, and just be an overall healthier environment for the animals themselves,” Strohm said.

“One the biggest things that we put a lot of thought into is the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system. We have independent units for the three big dog pods, so if there is an illness, we (can) keep those areas quarantined so the air in those rooms doesn’t get shared with air in the other rooms,” he said.

“We have ERVs (energy recovery ventilation) which circulates the air without conditioning to turn the air over quicker so the air does not get stale,” he said. Also, the facility has isolation care units that have their own ventilation and lighting. “When we turn the vent on, it pulls the sick air and vents it outside immediately,” he said.

The food room is centrally located with doors on both the public and private side of the building, the same with a laundry room. The new facility has 12,000 square feet under roof and is 15,000 square feet when concrete and animal pens are included, he said. The facility has separate dog and cat maternity rooms. “The capacity is not much different, but the new space is just more efficient, better thought out,” Strohm said.

The entire metal-frame building has concrete floors with drains in the floors for easy cleaning. Each dog room has pens with tempered glass and grates at the bottom to allow interaction between dogs and visitors. Two of the dog rooms have viewing windows from an interior hallway. The facility also has a surgical room, for spay or neuter or emergencies and a separate grooming room, with a stainless steel grooming tub.

Outdoor concrete pads are to be heated from hot water lines to prevent freezing when pens are cleaned in cold weather. Those water lines, also still need to be connected, another project yet to complete. The building, Strohm said, has utility connections ready for future items when obtained. Items include a commercial dishwasher for pet bowls and a hook up for a second washing tub.

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Source: (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star, https://bit.ly/1nQzzgG

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Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com

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