Voorhees Animal Orphanage Breaks Ground on New Facility

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By: SNJ Today Staff

Groundbreaking ceremony for the Voorhees Animal Orphanage's new shelter.
Groundbreaking ceremony for the Voorhees Animal Orphanage’s new shelter.

On Wednesday, April 10th Voorhees Animal Orphanage (VAO) employees, volunteers, and public officials celebrated the groundbreaking of VAO’S new shelter.

The new 8,900 square foot shelter will double the space that VAO employees and volunteers have to care for its animals and to generate adoptions.

David Semless, VAO president and Board of Directors is excited to help more animals in need.

“We are so excited to see our dream of building a new shelter become a reality,” Semless said, “Since our inception in 1988, we have saved the lives of more than 30,000 cats and dogs – never turning away a cat or dog in need. This new facility will help us to efficiently continue our mission of providing loving care to our cats and dogs until we can find them their forever homes.”

The new shelter will include:

• Dog kennels that are 50% larger
• Separate cat and dog meet-and-greet rooms
• “Cat Colonies” – space that will allow cats to socialize with each other
• Separate cat area with a larger cat room– offering cats their own sanctuary
• Six ventilation systems to improve cleanliness and reduce the spread of germs and common shelter illnesses such as upper respiratory infections
• Two separate dog kennel wings with a dedicated quarantine area for dogs who are sick or recovering from surgery
• Separate space for medical examinations
• A larger, more accommodating lobby to welcome guests and facilitate adoptions
• A laundry room, feed room, and utility room
• Lunch room for staff that will also serve as meeting space
• Storage space for pet food and supplies

Local volunteer Barbara Patrizzi pledge $100,000 for the naming rights to the new atrium to honor her animal-loving parents.

“My parents were both avid animal lovers and had adopted their adored cat, Bonnie, from the Voorhees Animal Orphanage,” said Patrizzi. “I knew a donation to help VAO build its new facility would be the perfect way to honor and remember my parents. I’ve spent time volunteering there and I’ve seen firsthand all the work they can do with limited resources – it’s quite a miraculous organization.”

The new facility will be built at their current location at 419 Cooper Road in Voorhees, next to the Voorhees Township Fire Department.

The VAO expects the shelter to open by the end of 2019.