Hope for Life Must Comply or Close

Dear Friends of Hope for Life Rescue:

Hope for Life Rescue is facing extensive modifications to our facility to be in compliance with new state laws governing the operation of animal shelters.  Most of the changes need to be made as soon as possible and the estimated cost for the entire project is $39,000 –$46,000.   We met with a representative from the Department of Agriculture in August and we will soon be receiving a letter giving us a specific date that the upgrades must be completed or we will face a $250 a day fine.  Obviously, if we cannot make the modifications in a timely manner we will be forced to close. 

What needs to be done? 

We must create a foyer for the public to enter.  No animals can be allowed to roam in that area.
The animals can no longer be allowed in the “office area”.  They cannot have open access to the area where we have computers, file cabinets, wall cabinets or any office equipment like fax machines, or office furniture, etc.
We must have separate areas for dogs and cats, with a few exceptions during the hours employees are available to supervise.  This means the dogs and cats cannot free roam together.
The back “intake room” must be closed off to all dogs and cats except those that are being treated, bathed, etc. 
We are required to have a fully equipped isolation area for incoming & sick animals.  This room cannot share supplies, cleaning products, etc. with the other areas of the facility. Additionally, we must have a neo-natal area.  Both of these rooms must limited for “intended use only”.
We also need to have electrical work done to move all “needed” outlets off the lower areas of the walls, and cap the outlets not in use.  Also, because of the new walls & doors we will need to up-grade our HVAC system to adequately accommodate the space.

What is our plan?  

We have had a meeting with the board of directors, employees, and contractors who have worked with us in the past.  We have worked to come up with a plan that will give us the most usable space for the rescue and still maintain the “open feel” of Hope Center.  One of the biggest issues is that to come into code we will be losing about 40% of the space used for cats, and therefore will need to reduce our cat population by about 25%, so we have already stopped cat intake until we are at a comfortable level.  

We have, in faith, already begun the changes --preparing the garage to be a designated cat area by stripping the garage of shelves, removing the garage door and replacing it with a half wall and windows. 
As soon as this area is finished we can move the cats from the intake area and the larger enclosed room to the back of the center (which will become the office). 
We have equipped the small room that was originally designed as an isolation room and equipped it with the medical unit, its own supplies, etc.  The little room at the very back, will be made into the neo-natal room. 
As soon as we can relocate the cats, the most important step will be to modify the front, by building a wall to separate the entrance from the animal areas.  The new “foyer” will have a small reception desk and some furniture for guests visiting the center.
The office desks, file cabinets and wall cabinets will be moved to the back “office”.  This will create a center area in the back for the adult cats.
In the end, we think the new design will function well, and once finished provide a new, lovely facility for all our rescues.

What can you do to help?

Obviously, we need funds to complete these modifications.  We are getting quotes for the work from contractors who are willing to do the work at or below their costs, however, these types of unplanned events never come at a good time.  Our vet bills have been soaring especially since we currently have 9 dogs going through heart worm treatment and have had 5 expensive surgeries this summer.   Also, we still need to complete the started renovations at Hope’s Garden, which provides needed income to sustain Hope Center.

We are asking that you might consider what role you can play to help us come quickly within the new state guidelines.  If you would like to discuss what needs to be done, or come by the center to visually get a better idea of the project, please do.  If you have any ideas or contacts that might be able to help us complete the project we are open to those suggestions.  Obviously, if you can make a donation designated to the renovation project we would be most grateful for your help.

Feel free to share this need with friends and business partners that have a heart for animals.  It is vital we get the word out since we are totally funded by donations received from the general public.  We do not have funds filtering down from a national organization; we do not receive any federal, state or funding or any on-going grants. Without our faithful donors we would have to shut our doors, so thank you in advance for any help you are able to provide towards the completion of this project.
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Pauline Cushman 
Virginia Beach, VA
Hope For Life Rescue Inc 
Registered nonprofit
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