The grand opening is Saturday, March 7

This story has been updated with the corrected square footage of the shelter. 

Brandywine Valley SPCA is bringing life back to an old animal shelter on Horsepond Road in Dover. The nonprofit invested $1.2 million, reconstructing most of the overgrown and vacant building, to establish its first shelter and animal health center in Kent County.

With the grand opening Saturday, March 7, BVSPCA will have a shelter in every county. The 15,000 square-foot campus is on 2 acres and includes an adoption center, a holding area for strays and a health center for low-cost veterinary services.

“Our goal is to always save more lives,” said Linda Torelli, director of marketing. “Having this facility solidifies the plan we have in Delaware and also opens the door to a lot more animals to add resources [in] a very animal friendly community in Kent County.”

Since BVSPCA is the state animal services contractor, the Dover campus has been housing stray dogs for the past six months. The site’s manager Sam Moore has been leading those efforts.

“It’s really important to be able to have this place open, so all the stray dogs in Kent County have someplace safe to go,” she said. Before, BVSPCA contracted out its boarding, so owners in Kent County could reclaim their dogs locally.

Maggie Lyon, director of development, said the campus helps bring resources to a central location. For example, their safety-net program provides financial assistance, access to the shelter’s behavioral team, a pet food pantry and more to help keep pets out of the shelter.

“We were really excited to get into Kent County and be able to serve that community that doesn’t have those resources right now, doesn’t have those low-cost services, those safety-net opportunities, without having to drive,” Lyon said.

Any Kent County dog owner can use these services and the health clinic, even if their pet did not come from the shelter. “What I’m excited most about is to have the public come and see all the resources that are there for their pets,” Torelli said. “It’s really about bringing those resources to the community.”

The community can get more involved by volunteering. Kids as young as eight years old can volunteer with a parent and start independently at 13 years old. The shelter welcomes groups of volunteers. They can help with walking dogs, representing BVSPCA in public, stuffing dog treats, reading to cats and more.

Kids can have an animal-themed birthday party at the shelter, including puppy play dates. The shelter has outdoor play yards and kennels that allow dogs to go outside as they wish.

“It’s very heavy on enrichment to make sure animals are having a quality experience in the shelter,” Torelli said. While the shelter’s cost was covered partially by a $500,000 grant from the Petco Foundation, they are accepting donations at bvspca.org/adopt/kent-2.

To learn more, adopt or donate, visit https://bvspca.org.