New Ken's Animal Protectors celebrate volunteers, look forward to new, larger shelter
Volunteers play an important role in the day-to-day operations at Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, a New Kensington-based shelter that provides services to cats and dogs.
Without them, the no-kill shelter wouldn't be able to run, said Board President Phyllis Framel.
“Our employees are incredible, but their job is hands-on animal care,” she said. “The employees can only do so much, and they're really good at what they do, but we need volunteers.
“The volunteers cut the grass in the summer, help with fundraising. They're very, very integral to our operations.”
That's why, for the second year, the shelter on Saturday hosted a meet and greet for new and current volunteers.
Framel said the event, held at the Anchor Inn in Harrison, is a way for volunteers to meet one another and talk about volunteer opportunities.
It also gave the nonprofit an opportunity to provide an update on the progress of its new shelter location at 730 Church St.
Jeanne Lessig, 59, of Harrison has been a shelter volunteer for 19 years. She said events like Saturday's show volunteers how much they are appreciated.
“We rely on them so much,” she said.
Vicki “Kathy” Sabo, who signed up Saturday to be a shelter volunteer, said she donates to the organization but wanted to start actively participating in its operations.
“The perfect place to be is a place that I support,” said Sabo, 66, of New Kensington.
Framel said Animal Protectors expects to start renovations on its new home come May, with an anticipated move-in date by the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019.
The organization in 2016 bought the new facility, which is three times bigger than its current building on Linden Avenue.
“We're just over the moon,” Framel said.
Renovations include bringing the building up to code, adding medical treatment and isolation areas for sick pets, a retail store, grooming room, laundry area, meet-and-greet areas for potential adopters, a “catio” for cats, separate areas for young and adult animals, and a small indoor training area.
In the future, the organization hopes to add more dog kennels and an education center, where people can hold birthday parties and host events.
Lessig said the new building, which is in the city's Parnassus neighborhood, will benefit shelter operations because it has more space.
“It's just going to be a better place for the animals — and for the volunteers,” she said.
Framel said renovations are expected to cost between $750,000 to $800,000. She said the shelter raised $601,000 in 2017 but is looking to raise more.
“We still need another $250,000,” she said.
Anyone wanting to donate to the renovation campaign or to the shelter's day-to-day operations can contact Framel at 412-580-9976 or email@example.com. For volunteer opportunities, visit AnimalProtectors.net .
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.