The longtime home of Overcash Electric is being transformed into a facility to house homeless pets.
After a months-long construction project, the site will soon be the home of Lake Norman Humane.
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A grand opening for the facility, at 2106 Charlotte Highway, is set for Wednesday from 3-7 p.m.
“This has been a long-time coming,” said Josh Tucker, president of the Lake Norman Humane Board of Directors. “We are so excited.”
Tucker said the plans to move from the humane organization’s current facility on Robinson Road have been in motion for a few years, but jumpstarted last April with the purchase of the Overcash property. Ground was broken last fall, and now just a few finishing touches remain before the building will serve as a place for homeless pets to get new homes.
He said the new building is 18,000 square feet of which 12,000 will house Lake Norman Humane. Tucker said the plans for the remaining 6,000 square feet are to rent it to something that fits in with the humane organization, such as a boarding facility, vet’s office or dog training.
The amount of space left over for rental alone is equal to the entire space they have in the current facility, Tucker said.
The new facility contains a welcoming reception area, which is being named in honor of 3-year-old Lance Shah. The Lance Shah Memorial Fund was founded by his parents Binit and Joanna Shah after his tragic death in 2013. Lance loved animals and his parents founded the memorial fund, which helps animal-related causes.
Tucker explained that the Shah Memorial Fund, along with Jack and Robin Salzman of Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, donated funds for the naming rights to the reception area and an adjacent education room.
Tucker said the education room will be for classes and training. Adorning the wall in the room will be Lake Norman Humane’s ambassador animal. Each year at a gala event, folks can bid to have their pet named ambassador animal, and fittingly, the first ambassador to be featured is Duke, the Salzman’s dog.
Tucker said a large photo of Duke will be on the wall until the gala in September when Duke’s photo will be moved to a different area of the facility and the new ambassador will be featured.
Off the reception area is the Cuddles Cattery, named in honor of Lake Norman Humane board member and treasurer Maria Haughton Robertson’s cat. This will be where cats looking for a new home are housed. There is also a cat play room, Tucker said.
One large room in the facility will continue the mission Lake Norman Humane and its former entities, Humane Society of Iredell and Friends of the Animals, started many years ago – a pet food pantry.
“Anybody in Iredell County that finds themselves in the unfortunate position of not being able to afford food for their pets can come in once a month and get food,” Tucker said. The food comes from donations from the public. Many people, Tucker said, will buy an extra bag of food when they are purchasing food for their animal and donate it to Lake Norman Humane.
In the back of the facility are kennels, some with outdoor runs, for housing dogs that are available for adoption. Between the kennels with outdoor runs and the bank of kennels inside, Tucker said, there’s capacity for 31 dogs, possibly more if two can be housed together.
The facility contains an intake area where dogs and cats are medically and behaviorally checked before moving to the adoption areas, Tucker said. There is a room for both species to be isolated in the event of illness.
Outside the building is a fenced-in area with artificial turf for outdoor space for dogs and it will soon include a 2,000 square-foot area for potential adopters to spend time with a dog and bring their current pet to meet the possible new family member, Tucker said.
There are plans for a low-cost spay neuter clinic inside the building and, later on, two remaining buildings will be renovated, Tucker said. Plans are still being finalized as to what will go in those buildings.
However, behind the building firm plans are in place for a memorial garden with a pathway paved with bricks folks can purchase to honor a pet or a loved one or with the name of a business or individual. One of the first bricks that will be a part of the memorial garden is one in honor of Mooresville Police Officer Jordan Sheldon, who was shot and killed in a traffic stop last month. Sheldon’s canine partner, Ramon, was in the car on the night he died.
Bricks are being sold for $100 and will form the pathway in the garden. The planting and landscaping will begin this fall, Tucker said.
Inside the facility is a meet-and-greet room for adopters. Tucker said there will be a TV screen that will continually show the animals that are available and adopters can choose which one or ones they’d like to meet.
Tucker said this facility is a dream come true for Lake Norman Humane and is now a reality thanks to the community.
“From small donations to big ones, it’s been an amazing effort,” he said.
Although the group has four employees and will be adding a fifth, a receptionist, the heart of the organization is the 90-plus volunteers, Tucker said. From those who donate 30 minutes to those who are there two or three hours a day, they’re a vital part of the organization, Tucker said.
And with the larger facility, the need for volunteers isn’t diminishing, he said. There will be a volunteer information desk at the grand opening and people can sign up to volunteer.
Tucker said the new facility will provide a more suitable environment for the staff and volunteers and the animals.
“We will be able to save more animals and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.