NEW HAVEN -- There's lots of noise coming out of the New Haven Animal Shelter and it's not just from the animals.
The shelter handles roughly 1,400 dogs and cats a year and desperately wants to improve the customer experience. So, they're in construction mode for the first time in over 30 years.
"They (customers) actually had to walk down to the desk over there, sign in and then we would direct them to walk back the other way to go see the dogs and the cats," said officer Joe Manganiello, the Director of the shelter, when speaking about its inefficient layout.
Thanks to roughly $100,000 in grant money, renovations started last Monday. The new layout eliminates the ping-ponging of visitors, as the construction crews blew out a wall in the main hall "which is going to act as the reception area," said Manganiello. "When people first walk in they can be greeted right as they walk through the door."
To the left of the new reception area, is the current cat room, which is very tight quarters. This area will now be transformed into office space.
"We will probably have some sort of filing cabinets put in here," Managaniello said. "We will have a cut out in the wall over here for the reception area."
The the cats will be moved to what is now the reception area. And that is just the first phase.
"We still have all of our back area, all of our animal care areas," said Manganiello, who noted those areas will receive new paint, flooring and other less involved upgrades.
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven awarded over $7,000 to the New Haven Animal Shelter through a grant program focused on animal shelters in their 20 town service area.
"We have about $100,000 this year to give out. So, we encourage nonprofits to apply," said Denise Canning, the Manager of Grants for the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
And, she adds, any shelter has the opportunity to earn even more through The Great Give, a 36 hour online giving event, May 2 and 3.
"And, depending on how much money is given, it's a one to one match up to $5,000," Canning said.
The first phase of the New Haven Animal Shelter's makeover, which comes in with a price tag of about $150,000, is expected to be completed by the end of May.