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Humane Society of London and Middlesex breaks ground on new 10-acre facility

Humane Society of London and Middlesex staff and local politicians breaking ground at the site of the new Old Oak Animal Campus on 1414 Dundas St. on May 17, 2022 . Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Felines and animal lovers alike broke ground on the site of the new Humane Society of London and Middlesex (HSLM) Animal Campus Tuesday morning.

After approximately 123 years at their Clarke Road location in London, Ont., the organization is upgrading to a facility on 10 acres of land in the city’s east end.

The new site at 1414 Dundas St. will house up to 400 animals at a time, up from approximately 175 at the current location.

“It means a lot to me personally, and it means a lot to HLM, and it means a lot to the community. The demand for our services has never been greater, and so this is the next step,” said Steve Ryall, executive director of HSLM, about the construction of the new larger facility.

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One-eyed Fury who was adopted by Humane Society of London and Middlesex staffer Jen Rushton was at the event on May 17, 2022, to help break ground at the new site. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Ryall said their building on Clark road, at more than 123 years old, requires weekly repairs and is falling apart.

“It’s a series of construction projects that have been put together, and unfortunately, the HVAC system wasn’t designed for the building that it is, so we’ve had to really piece things together,” he said.

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The east end site will also have in-house veterinary services, animal care education programs, a public dog park and an area for families to visit.

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“It’s going to offer larger, greater spaces for the animals, more spaces for animal rehab, and a spot for the community to come and visit and just be with the animals. They don’t have to come to make an adoption; they can just come and grab a coffee and go into one of the themed rooms and hang out with the cats for an hour,” Ryall said.

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“We’ll be able to provide indoor dog training and dog kennel services and those types of things as well, and then kids camps in the summer times and schools will be able to come to visit us during the school year.”

One of the features of the new site will be a veterinary office that animal owners who have financial difficulties will be able to use to get care for their pets at discounted prices.

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“So many animals are removed from loving, caring environments – and I mean just ripped from these beautiful environments – because people can’t afford the surgeries or the cost of food,” said Becky Malacaria, chair of the HSLM capital campaign committee.

“We figured if there was a way to lessen that burden and keep these animals in their home, it’s twofold.”

After an undisclosed donation from Old Oak Properties, the property is being named Old Oak Animal Campus.

Ryall said the entire project will cost $21 million, $10 million of which still needs to be raised.

People wanting to support the project can find all of the details on the LSLM website.

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