WORK has started on a multi-purpose building at the ManxSPCA, at Ard Jerkyll, which it is hoped will not only improve facilities but will lead to more dogs being rehomed.
The indoor training and play barn will enable staff to work with dogs when the weather conditions prevent them from going outside.
And part of the building will be fitted out as a reception/living room so that people looking to adopt a dog can spend time with it in a home environment.
ManxSPCA chairman Bill Cubbon described the project at East Foxdale as a ‘very important development’ for the charity’s work.
He said: ‘Instead of meeting in a noisy, confused environment they will be able to sit in a quiet room and get to know the dog without interference.’
It is hoped that dogs will be matched more effectively with people wanting to adopt.
‘The dogs aren’t seen in their best light at the moment because they are barking at strangers walking past the place,’ he said.
‘People can’t get a proper judgement of the dog’s temperament.’
He added: ‘Hopefully it will lead to more rehoming of animals and helping us to get the right choice.’
When the building is complete, staff will be encouraging people who have adopted dogs from them to visit so they can receive help with training, such as basic commands and good manners.
Staff carry out this work with the animals when they are waiting to be rehomed.
The charity also plans to use the building to support its fundraising events, such as fun days.
Mr Cubbon said: ‘At the moment events are held in the open air and we have to cancel them if the weather is bad.
‘If we have a building like this we will be able to make use of it.’
School trips, WI groups and other organisations interested in finding out about the charity’s work will also be accommodated in the building.
The work is expected to take six months to complete.
‘Hopefully by the summer we will have a brand new facility we can use to benefit the dogs.’
The project is being funded through an anonymous £150,000 donation, a £22,000 grant from the Scholl Foundation, and £10,000 raised by the Friends of the ManxSPCA through events such as car boot sales.
But more fundraising will be needed to raise the money to fit out the building.
Mr Cubbon said: ‘We are always looking for more money and sponsorship. ‘We constantly run at a loss each year. It’s only by legacies and generous donations like this that we are able to continue.’
There are currently about 16 dogs waiting to be rehomed.
Mr Cubbon said: ‘Quite often we are in the situation we can’t take all the dogs that need to come in.’
The charity pays for stray dogs that would otherwise be put down to be kept in private kennels.