Final inspection restores facility’s license

“If we had hats, we’d be throwing them in the air!”

So goes the feelings of Lisa Lee and Rhonda Heath, senior board member and president, respectively, on the news Thursday morning that Colonial Capital Humane Society will soon be up and running again.

Joe Bloomquist and Lisa Carlson, inspectors from the N.C. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Division, arrived on the grounds Thursday morning and, after a two-hour inspection, declared that the nonprofit animal shelter’s license would be renewed.

For several months it was close going.

After several failed inspections in the first half of 2015 for inadequate facilities for both dogs and cats, inaccurate record keeping and a high overpopulation of cats at the shelter, the state took Colonial Capital’s license to operate in the state and ordered the facility to have its animals gone in 60 days.

Instead, Lee led a drive to find the volunteers and funds to bring the facility back up to code.

Heath said the community response made all the difference.

“We could not have done this without the businesses, the volunteers and the community workers,” she said. “We’re forever grateful.”

Individuals, organizations and companies showed up over several months repairing and upgrading shelters, adding dividers in the trailer that houses the cats, and building structures such as a bathhouse to care for the animals. Weekly drives whittled an over-population of cats, numbering at more than 125 at one point, to 82, bringing the shelter within the range of cats it can safely house.

The inspectors had come last week to do a courtesy inspection during which they gave a few suggestions to finish the work in preparation for this week’s official inspection.

“During our courtesy inspection, Joe said he’s been inspecting us for 11 years and this is probably the best inspection he’s had of us,” Heath said. “‘It’s a total transformation,’ is what Joe said.”

After a file is reported, the new license will be mailed out. Heath expects it within a week.

Now, she said, Colonial Capital (not associated with the national Humane Society) will be able to return to its mission of rescuing pets and finding them homes.

“That’s our mission: Adoption, adoption, adoption,” she said.

Anyone interested in adopting or volunteering can visit the Colonial Capital Humane Society’s website at 222.colonialcapitalhs.org.

Contact Bill Hand at bill.hand@newbernsj.com, 252-635-5677, and follow him @BillHandNBSJ.