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Humane Society of Tampa Bay opens brand new animal shelter

The old shelter was 60 years old
Posted at 10:22 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 23:41:10-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Humane Society of Tampa Bay opened a brand new animal shelter on Monday.

Dozens of people came out to adopt animals and check out the new facility.

"We had a line this morning that practically wrapped around our building. We were overwhelmed with the support of people wanting to come out and adopt," said Maria Matlack with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

The nonprofit processed close to 76 adoptions on Monday.

Cherith Belmonte adopted a kitten. She brought her 3-year-old to pick out the special pet.

"We are very excited. This was actually a surprise for my daughter. We haven't told her, but her brother walked through and helped me pick out a kitten that he thought would be best for her," said Belmonte.

The new facility may house up to 400 animals. It has a retail store, puppy and kitten nurseries, an isolation area for sick animals, expanded medical and surgical suites and climate control in all areas.

Cats and bunnies may roam inside or outside.

"We have tons of really cool features such as indoor/outdoor cat housing so the cats have their choice of being indoors or outdoors. We also have that same set up for our bunnies," said Matlack.

"I think it's a lot nicer, especially for the rabbits. It was always sad to see them outside in the heat even though they're outdoor animals. I think it's much nicer for them now," said Belmonte.

The old shelter is located on North Armenia Avenue in Tampa. It will be torn down on Wednesday and turned into additional parking for the new facility.

"Our mission really was to be innovative and do something different and really lead the way in the animal welfare space so we're proud of this building and we can't wait for people to come out and see it," said Matlack.

Donations paid for the $17.5 million animal shelter. Matlack said the DeBartolo Family gave a $3 million donation.

"We really want to make a change and an impact on our community here in Tampa to be not only the best shelter in Florida, but across the nation. We really want to make an impact on the lives of animals as well as people," said Matlack.