DuPage reopens newly renovated animal shelter

Dogs and cats are expected to have a better, quieter stay at DuPage County's Animal Care and Control facility after a roughly $930,000 renovation of the building.

County officials on Tuesday celebrated the reopening of the animal shelter in Wheaton, which had been closed for construction since February. Animals are scheduled to be moved back into the building at 120 N. County Farm Road on Wednesday and Thursday.

"It's exciting to see a new look and feel to it," said Kristie Lecaros, the shelter manager. "Even though our footprint hasn't expanded, it has received a nice little makeover."

County board member Brian Krajewski, chairman of the county board's animal care and control committee, said it was important to do the project now because the building was constructed in 1977. "We've learned a lot more about the care of animals since 1977," he said.

Upgrades made to the shelter include noise abatement improvements, electrical and lighting improvements, fire protection improvements, HVAC replacement, and a new isolation ward for dogs. A lower ceiling also has been added for noise abatement.

"It won't be nearly as loud as it was previously," said Lecaros, adding that several of the upgrades were designed "with the idea of enhancing the quality of life" of the shelter's animals.

The building, for example, has a new filtration system that kills any bacteria, allergens or viruses in the air.

Animal control is a self-supported facility and is not funded by taxpayer money.

The renovation project was paid for entirely through a combination of available money provided by the Foundation for DuPage County Animal Care and Control and a special fund within the animal control department.

Deanna Wilkins, past president of the foundation, said it took a decade to make the project happen.

"One of our main goals was to be able to do a renovation for the shelter," Wilkins said. "With a lot of hard work and dedication, it's paid off."

The next goal is to someday expand the building. In order for an expansion to happen, the foundation will have to raise most of the money to pay for it.

  DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, left, leads a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the reopening of the newly renovated DuPage County Animal Care and Control shelter. Daniel White/
  DuPage County Animal Care and Control celebrated Tuesday the reopening of its newly renovated animal shelter. Improvements to the facility include HVAC and plumbing upgrades. Daniel White/
  Animal caretaker Kiara Cnota plays with Lacey as DuPage County officials prepared to celebrate the reopening of the county's newly renovated animal shelter in Wheaton. Daniel White/
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