Harbor House of Central Florida today opened the doors to its Paws for Peace Kennel and In-Kind Donation Center, a 3,500 square foot multipurpose building three years in the making.
“We are thrilled to be standing here with our major sponsors, community partners and individual supporters who have made this dream a reality,” said Carol Wick, Chief Executive Officer of Harbor House of Central Florida. “Today is the day we have worked tirelessly toward for three years, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs cut the purple ribbon—officially opening the facility—alongside representatives from Dr. Phillips Charities, which funded the Donation Center, and Orange County Animal Services and SeaWorld, two of the major funders of the Kennel. PETCO Foundation, the other major funder for the Kennel, provided a $50,000 grant for its construction.
“It’s incredible to think how many caring individuals and private organizations came together in support of this project,” said Wick. “From a $100 pet tile on our Donor Wall in the Kennel to a $100,000 grant from Dr. Phillips Charities that made the Donation Center possible, this was a true community collaboration at every level.”
The Paws for Peace Kennel will house at least 10 cats and 10 dogs and features a screened cat visitation porch, an outdoor dog park, a grooming station and a veterinary exam area. It removes a key barrier for survivors who want to leave an abusive situation but will not leave their pets behind.
The In-Kind Donation Center will house thousands of items for domestic abuse survivors residing at Harbor House’s Emergency Shelter. It will enable the agency to accept large, bulk donations as well as efficiently distribute the more than $250,000 worth of in-kind donations received from the community each year.
The addition of the new services makes Harbor House one of the most comprehensive domestic violence shelters in the United States. It is the only shelter in Florida with both a state-certified daycare and a pet kennel.
“Our goal has always been to take a holistic approach to ending domestic abuse in Central Florida, and this is yet another successful step in our journey to fulfill our mission and save lives,” said Wick.