New Aiken Co. animal shelter set to open at end of month

New Aiken County shelter

The shelter is moving down the road to a state-of-the-art and sustainable building. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 9, 2012)

News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -- It's a big name for a big new animal shelter in Aiken.

The SPCA Albright Center for Animal Welfare is just about ready to open its doors, and News 12's Laura Warren got a sneak peak.

The facility is moving a couple of miles down the road to a 20,000 square foot state-of-the-art building.

"We're relieved that we're finally at the ending point, we're getting a lot of last-minute details finished up right now, some of the cages, some of the doors and a lot of that little stuff," said Gary Willoughby, president and CEO of the SPCA Albright Center for Animal Welfare.

The facility was built to be environmentally friendly, which will eventually save a lot of money.

"Our hot water heaters will be powered by the solar light panels that are on the roof," he said.

And its large size and self-sustainable design aren't the only things catching people's attention.

"Our spay/neuter clinic will go from a little over 2,000 surgeries a year to having the capacity to do over 18,000 surgeries a year," Willoughby said.

This is something Willoughby says will help keep the pet population down, hopefully helping to keep animals out of the shelters and pounds in the first place.

"We can make a bigger impact -- not just here in Aiken County -- but all over the CSRA," he said.

There are huge pens outside for the dogs to get exercise and several spaces designed to keep the dogs stress-free, complete with a soundproof ceiling, a stark contrast to the old facility.

There are also cat kingdoms with play pens for the felines. In addition, there are also several "get acquainted rooms" so you can make sure to pick a perfect match.

The SPCA originally planned to sell the old building on Wire Road to Aiken County, but now, they're turning half of it into an affordable boarding facility for the community.

The rest of the building will be used to help other counties like Edgefield and Saluda house their overflow pets.

The plan is for the facility to open at the end of August.

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