BELLINGHAM — The Whatcom Humane Society is opening a new $2.6 million shelter to provide more room and services for animals.
The facility was opening Wednesday. The organization closed its Port of Bellingham-owned Williamson Way shelter, as well as its county-owned Baker Creek shelter.
"To say it's a long overdue project would be an understatement," said Laura Clark, executive director for Whatcom Humane Society. "We have needed a new shelter for 20-plus years. There have been starts and stops of many, many years."
The new, 19,000-square-foot shelter includes special areas for dogs, cats, birds and small or exotic animals, as well as an expanded veterinary and surgery area for the diagnosis and treatment of animals.
The shelter's operating days also are changing. Instead of closing on Sundays and Mondays, the shelter will be closed only on Tuesdays. In 2012, the society provided care and services for more than 4,500 animals.
Private donations are paying for the cost of the new shelter, which sits on more than 12 acres owned by the society.
"As our needs arise, we could expand and do a multitude of other things," Clark said
The $2.6 million cost of construction for the new shelter includes expenses for kennels, veterinary equipment, laundry facilities, signs and grounds work.