Heritage Humane Society holds expansion celebration

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The Heritage Humane Society kicked off their expansion celebration with a digging ceremony, led by Lilah the dog.(WYDaily/Photo by Molly Feser)

YORK COUNTY — Shovels are in the ground at the Heritage Humane Society (HHS).

On Thursday, April 15, HHS held a celebration for its upcoming expansions and renovations.   

They first announced the major expansions to their shelter in late March. 

The celebration was held at the facility located at 430 Waller Mill Road and began with a ceremonial digging. 

One of the shelter’s dogs, Lilah, began the dig as the audience of donors and municipality partners cheered her on. 

Kimberly Laska, executive director of HHS, said that they have achieved 100% of board financial support for the project. 

The $1.8M project will include the addition of 2550 square feet to the front of the adoption facility. It will also add more than 820 square feet for a multipurpose room, 16 new parking spaces and two outdoor dog play yards.

Construction has begun on the new outdoor dog play yards, which will allow the dogs to have play time without leashes. (WYDaily/Photo by Molly Feser)

The expansion will also include a renovation to the lobby, four new staff member offices, an employee and volunteer breakroom, and two restrooms. 

A new multipurpose space that will be located in the lobby will include a dog activity and viewing room as well as two pet feature rooms for animals that need special attention.

HHS has already started construction on two new outdoor play yards where the shelter’s dogs will be able to go outside off leash and “just be dogs.” 

“Three times a day is great, but that’s just a walk, they don’t get to play,” staff member Erin Tankersley said. “They can actually get some of those zoomies out. That will make them a lot more calm in their kennels afterward.”

The project was first envisioned in 2014 and has seen many iterations over the past seven years. 

“I think we’ve hit the sweet spot,” Denise Koch, co-chair of the expansion committee, said. “We’re not overbuilding, we’re not underbuilding, but we’re building to serve the ‘Lilahs’ and our community.”

The expansion will not only serve the animals at the facility, but will also allow HHS to better connect with the public. 

The shelter’s new classroom will be a space to hold educational and dog behavioral classes or even birthday parties.

“The classroom will give us the opportunity to speak to people about heartworm disease and flea prevention, a lot of things that people might just not be educated about,” Emily Glickman, HHS Canine Lead, said. “I think medically we can have a lot of conversations with the community.”

The expansion and renovations are expected reach completion sometime in the fall of 2021.  

Laska said that after over eight years of working for HHS, her favorite part is “the people, the community, and the mission.”

“We are able to make such an impactful difference as an open admission program,” she said. “Every animal that comes in and needs a safe place to land, we are going to do everything in our power that they have every chance available to them.”

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