Founded in 1883, Columbus Humane, formerly known as Capital Area Humane Society, is passionate about its mission to “fight animal cruelty, help animals in need, and advocate for their well-being.”
In addition to serving as a shelter and providing veterinary care at its onsite hospital, Columbus Humane handles thousands of animal cruelty investigations each year, partnering with law enforcement agencies and departments of health, among others, to intervene and keep animals safe and healthy until they are adopted into a forever home.
The organization has been headquartered in Hilliard since 1992. With 30,000 visitors a year, a steady stream of animal lovers make their way through the doors every day. However, the building’s outdated design was inefficient and not conducive to the needs of visitors or animals.
“We had a lot of space that could be better purposed to provide good care for our animals,” said Rachel Finney, Columbus Humane’s CEO.
In December 2016, Columbus Humane’s board voted to engage an architect to begin thinking about re-envisioning the space. Five
days later, the building was damaged as a result of a ruptured sprinkler pipe. A third of the building was destroyed.
Before tackling a renovation, the organization had to address rebuilding its hospital, which had been completely ruined. Re-opened in the fall of 2017, today the hospital is a state-of-the-art facility.
In early 2017, as the hospital rebuild began, Columbus Humane kicked off a capital campaign to address its other pressing needs. With a huge open entryway, and a long walk to the reception area, Rachel said visitors could be well inside the building before seeing any animals. It had the space—but needed to be reconfigured.
Construction began in February 2018 and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“With the renovation, animals are the showcase. It’s a much more welcoming experience for visitors, too.”
— Rachel Finney, CEO, Columbus Humane
One of the most significant changes benefits cats at Columbus Humane. With the renovation, the organization is dramatically increasing the amount of square footage per cat, from a 2' x 2' stainless steel cage to almost 18-square-feet with multiple levels. This gives cats the opportunity to have sleeping spaces, eating quarters, and litter boxes in different places. They are also the centerpiece of the new entry to the building.
For dogs, the renovation means a better environment to meet and get to know their new families. The building previously had one bonding room for dogs to get to know potential new owners—now it will have five.
“We have a tremendous success rate with dog adoptions, particularly,” Rachel said. The new bonding rooms will allow the dogs and the people to focus on one another, and block out other stimuli.
In 2017, a $50,000 grant to support the capital campaign was awarded to Columbus Humane thanks to the Samuel A. Keller Fund and the Funds for Columbus, unrestricted funds comprised of donations from generous donors that help address emerging needs in the community.
“Columbus Humane is not only an adoption and medical resource, but it serves as the law enforcement and cruelty investigation entity for the community,” said Dan Sharpe, Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management at The Columbus Foundation. “The facilities need to advance and evolve with the important work of the staff and organization. The renovation will yield dividends for the animals and the humans seeking to provide their forever homes.”