Renovations for Anderson Animal Shelter- Courier News

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Written by Courier News Staff, The Courier News. July 16, 2014

Major Renovations Planned for Anderson Animal Shelter

Anderson Animal Shelter is getting a makeover and is looking for foster volunteers to care for the animals during the renovation.

A donation — from Marco and Patricia Muscarello, on behalf of the Ivar and Ruth Anderson Animal Anti-Cruelty Foundation — will update the forty-year-old building, 1000 South LaFox, South Elgin. Beginning Sept. 1, new caging will be installed throughout the dog and cat adoption areas and the reception and non-public areas of the shelter will receive a face-lift.

“The Anderson Animal Shelter building is outdated, said Executive Director Beth Drake. “Our plumbing was installed when the shelter was built 40 years ago and has reached the end of its life expectancy. Our parking lot is too small to accommodate all our shelter visitors. Most importantly, our animal caging is outdated.”

Currently, the cats are housed in small, stainless steel cages and dogs are housed in chain link kennels.

“This type of caging is not ideal for shelter animals,” said Drake. “It increases their stress and leads to emotional and physical distress. The shelter redesign will incorporate creative housing solutions designed to reduce animal stress. Our adoptable cats will be housed with other cats in cat colonies, or individually in large ‘kitty condos’ with perching and sleeping ledges, allowing them to feel more at home. Adoptable dogs will be housed in their own small rooms, rather than in kennels.”

Under Drake’s leadership, shelter staff and volunteers have begun to implement activities to increase the adoptability of shelter animals in advance of the shelter redesign. Dog playgroups are now a daily occurrence. Dogs that “play well with others” are allowed to interact with one another off leash in an outdoor fenced area with special supervision.

“One of the most exciting improvements I’ve witnessed is dog playgroups, said Josephine Bachelder one of the Shelter’s current volunteers. “Socialization is vital to the emotional health of dogs and you can really see it in the shelter dogs during and after they’ve been in a playgroup. They’re so much more relaxed — it obviously has a positive effect on their overall well-being.”

“A remodeling project of this magnitude is a momentous event in the life of the shelter,” said Cindy Green, longtime member of the Board of Directors. “The upcoming changes will not only benefit the animals in our care, but also the staff and the community as a whole. In my almost seventeen years as a Board Member, I can’t remember feeling such unified excitement.”

The shelter plans to shut down for the month of September for the construction and renovations. Some of the shelter animals will be moved to a satellite adoption location at an undetermined location, where adoptions will continue while the shelter is closed. Anderson staff is currently looking for foster volunteers willing to care for an adult dog or cat or a litter of puppies or kittens for the transition period.

“We’re looking for as many as 100 foster homes willing to bring a shelter pet into their home for a period of one to two months while the shelter is under construction,” said Jon Koffenberger, the Shelter’s Animal Care Manager. “You don’t need to be an experienced foster volunteer, but we do ask that you have some pet experience. Many of the animals here at Anderson have been at the shelter for a long time. They’ve forgotten what it means to be part of a family and will need some help readjusting to that type of life,” he said. “We’ll transition our residents provide their food and any veterinary care they need. We’ll also be there to assist if fosters have behavior concerns about their foster pets. All we ask is that you love them and care for them as if they were your own until it’s time for them to come back to the shelter.”

Should foster volunteers wish to adopt their foster pet, they will be given first priority,” said Drake. “The transition to a shelter environment can be very stressful for dogs and cats,” she added. “Oftentimes, it can be very helpful to engage foster homes and get the animals out of our facility so that they can learn some basic manners, work on potty training and other kinds of activities. Regardless of how wonderful a shelter is, it is an inherently stressful place to be.”

For information about the foster program visit or call 847-697-2880 x23 or email