SEBRING - Since Judy Spiegel became president of the Highlands County Humane Society, she's found five different sets of plans for new kennels to replace the existing ones built some 50 years ago.
But none of those plans were ever executed, she said.
That will all change. Ground preparation is underway for construction of new kennels and eventually a building that will house an animal surgical center and a new home for the cats at the shelter. It also will have a room where people can visit with the dogs they want to adopt, she said.
The project includes separate areas for kittens and puppies and adult dogs and cats, she said.
"It's been a long time coming," she said.
Spiegel said a ground breaking ceremony will likely be conducted during the next two weeks. The Humane Society has the $238,000 to build the new kennels, but not enough dollars to construct the building, Spiegel said.
The Humane Society is hoping that people will help with some aspects of the kennels and then some of the money set aside for the kennels could be used for the building, she said.
One area that people could help is providing a cooler living area for the dogs, she said.
The Humane Society needs 14 industrial ceiling fans at a cost of $1,200 to keep the dogs cool, she said.
"The fans also dry out of the floor of the kennel," said Jon Spiegel, husband of Judy Spiegel who has helped out with the project.
Naming rights for the kennels will be offered for $500 per kennel, Judy Spiegel said.
People also will be able to donate larger amounts, Spiegel said. A $16,000 donation would pay for the cost of a new septic system, but people may not want to have their name on that, she said.
They also need donations for dog houses for each dog and play yards, she said.
Plans call for the kennels to be built with welded wire, which is durable, Jon Spiegel said.
"A lot of investigation and research went into choosing the materials for this building, he said.
If everything goes well, the new kennels should be completed in five months, Judy Spiegel said. "We're hoping the whole project can be completed in a year."
She said she expects that once the project is completed, the shelter will continue to have about the same number of cats and dogs.