The Cleveland Division of Animal Care and Control (CACC) is currently housed on West Seventh Street in the industrial Flats. It's adjacent to Clark Field and across from the just-what-it-sounds-like equipment supplier Air Products. The "loose gravel" road sign, barbed wire fencing, and enormous pill-shaped storage silos chock-full of "Gaseous Oxygen" and "Pure Argon" aren't particularly plush surroundings for the city's adoptable dogs.
The kennel itself is in bad shape too. In fact, if you were to ask former city architect Chris Diehl, the kennel on West Seventh is a "horrible environment for the dogs and the people who work there."
The kennel was built in 1977, in the era of Cleveland mayor Ralph Perk, and it currently houses more than 100 dogs, stacked in rows of metal cages. Walking inside is not unlike walking into any other unpleasant building where civic business is conducted — the justice center, the impound lot — but at the kennel, a barnyard tang pervades.
Though it probably comes as little surprise, all but one of the 62 dogs available for adoption through the kennel's City Dogs initiative (see available pups at petango.com/CACC) are either American Pit Bull or Terrier mixes. Other breeds are generally taken to the APL or the County Kennel.
The City Dogs program aims to change the image of pit bulls, and subsequently increase adoptions, by preparing the dogs for lives in loving homes "and by creating as many opportunities as possible for the public to meet and get to know [them] for the terrific pets they are meant to be."
And the good news for all these pups is that in 2017, they'll have a glittering new facility where those meet and greets can happen. A new $5.3-million kennel will be located on Detroit Avenue and West 93rd. Construction bids, the city says, will start being collected soon.
Designed by Richard L. Bowen and Associates in Cleveland, in conjunction with a firm called ARQ that has worked extensively on animal shelters, the new kennel will be state of the art. At 13,500 square feet, it won't be significantly larger than the current kennel, but the big change is that dogs will be kept in acoustically separated pods, which will grant the animals a greater sense of calm. The cages at the current kennel are arranged in such a way that the anxious yipping and barking tends to increase along exponential curves.
"The [new] facility will also provide more natural light," says the Richard L. Bowen project description, "making the animal care and adoption areas more hospitable to the users."
A better, more hospitable facility in a much more visible area (on the overlapping fringes of Detroit-Shoreway and Cudell) means more meet and greets. And that means more adoptions.
The $5.3 million comes from the city's capital improvement projects budget. It was specifically mentioned in a $20 million allocation from the $100 million bond the city issued in 2014. Along with the kennel, those funds also went toward city rec centers, the Willard Parking Garage and police body cameras.
The new facility is slated to open in the fall of 2017.