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Cape Coral Animal Shelter to open for adoptions March 19

By Staff | Mar 10, 2020

After nearly two years of hard work and dedication, the Cape Coral Animal Shelter will be open for adoptions March 19.

While the clinic area of the facility is set to be fully operational in the very near future, residents can now find a forever friend at the newly constructed no-kill shelter, the first in Cape Coral.

“It’s just amazing,” said shelter Executive Director Liz McCauley of opening the facility’s doors to the public. “This community has been so supportive of this project since day one. It’s been several years in the making. Took a lot of hard work, took a lot of effort, a lot of money and this community really rallied around us. It’s exciting, it’s scary, but we’re ready to go.”

The Cape Coral Animal Shelter is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in August 2016.

Its mission is, “To engage a special bond between people and animals by means of adoption services, medical care, education and training for the prevention of cruelty and abandonment. A safe place, where animals will remain in our care until they are placed in a qualified, forever home.”

The Cape Coral Animal Shelter broke ground in late 2018 and the 6,512-square-foot facility is now home to four legged friends who you can fall in love with and make members of your family.

With almost 200,000 people in Cape Coral, it’s estimated there’s nearly 80-85,000 animals/pets in the area, meaning a big need for the services the shelter offers.

“The shelter is needed, for one, to save all the unwanted animals and then the low cost clinic that we’re going to have is a great benefit to the citizens of Cape Coral and all of Southwest Florida,” McCauley said.

There are 12 brand new kennels at the shelter to house dogs and three cat rooms that can hold five adult cats per room and even more, including kittens.

Adorable pups, ranging in breeds and age that are sure to melt your heart, look at you with longing eyes as you make your way through the spacious kennel area where you can interact with each dog.

The kennel area gives each K9 plenty of room to play with their favorite toy or take a nap on their blanket and bed.

What sets the shelter apart is its on-site clinic where vets will be able to tend to dogs or cats that come in from less than ideal situations and care for them.

“We can help them,” McCauley said. “We can go get those animals, get them made whole again and get them up for adoption where they don’t have those resources and we do.”

While the clinic is not yet open for public use, it includes state-of-the-art surgery tables, monitors, a digital X-ray machine, digital dental machine and more.

McCauley said they will offer just about everything other than orthopedic surgery.

The low cost clinic will also give residents an opportunity to provide for their animals without breaking the bank.

“There’s a large portion of retirees here that love their animals very much but can’t afford to take care of them, so we’re going to offer that service here as a low cost clinic,” McCauley said.

There is no current full-time veterinarian on staff, as they are working with local vets on a per diem basis. They do hope to have a vet full time in the near future.

“Great vets have come forward to work with us, that’s one thing I’m really grateful for,” McCauley said.

All pets will be spayed/neutered, microchipped and be as up to date on their vaccines as possible. Those who adopt will also get a voucher for a free first visit to the clinic with their new forever friend.

McCauley said the shelter is working with other shelters like it in the area, including Lee County Domestic Animal Services, to take in animals when they get overwhelmed — which can be quite often.

Lee County Domestic Animal Services handles all animal control in the county, which can be an incredible task at times, said McCauley. The shelter is also working with municipal shelters in other counties. For example, the dogs up for adoption currently at the shelter come from DeSoto County. They will also be taking surrenders.

“I could go an hour in each direction and come back with a van full of animals every day, it’s really sad that that’s the case,” McCauley said.

They will also be working with foster homes for their animals so that they can get out of the shelter and see how they behave in a domesticated setting to get an idea of the animal’s personality. It also frees up more room for other animals to come in.

“It gives them the chance to get out of the shelter,” she said.

McCauley is a Pennsylvania native who ran a shelter similar to the Lee County facility back home and has worked at Gulf Coast Humane Society here in Florida.

“It’s become my passion in life,” McCauley said of helping animals. “It’s so rewarding to see these animals go from shut down, scared, unwanted, abused, unhealthy to thriving. It’s amazing to watch that transformation.”

She loves to see how animals can become someone’s saving grace.

“I love to see how they help people heal,” McCauley said. “To help people find their companion and complete their lives, it’s just as rewarding as saving the animals, it’s saving the people, too.”

The No. 1 goal of the shelter moving forward is to have the clinic fully operational for the public, McCauley said.

She is especially grateful for the support from Cape Coral residents and plans to return the favor.

“It’s about being part of the community, because this community has been really good to us so we want to always give back,” McCauley said. “It gives me goosebumps to think how this community has rallied around us.”

McCauley said the shelter plans to work with local veteran organizations, Special Populations, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Cell Dogs program, with youth, seniors and more.

There will also be special packages for seniors who wish to adopt — especially those wanting to adopt senior dogs.

The center’s website, www.CapeCoralAnimalShelter.com, will have up-to-date adoption availability, including dogs who are being fostered. McCauley asks that those wishing to meet with a fostered dog call ahead so that they can bring the animal to the shelter.

Those interested in fostering animals will soon be able to fill out an application online to do so.

McCauley also wanted to give a big thank you to the Gunterberg Charitable Foundation and all those volunteers and sponsors who have made this shelter possible.

“Adopt, don’t shop,” McCauley said.

The Cape Coral Animal Shelter is at 325 SW 2nd Ave.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj