WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Daffy waited patiently, wrapped in a blue towel and cradled by Rene Blaylock, who explained the situation.
Someone had given the fluffy black cat to Blaylock's fiancé, but her daughter is extremely allergic to cats. Daffy hadn't been neutered, and they weren't sure how old he is, Blaylock told Lisa Herdman, office manager of Putnam County Animal Relief Services.
A few minutes later Wednesday morning, a medium-sized black dog was brought in on a leash, 15 minutes after the shelter opened its doors for the day.
As many as 20 animals are brought to the shelter each day during the summer months, according to chief humane officer Jon Davis, and the county's current shelter, built as a temporary facility in 1986, isn't equipped to handle the demands of the area.
The county's new animal shelter, on W.Va. 62 near the Winfield Bridge, is scheduled to open Aug. 15.
It was supposed to be open last month, but a few snags in construction and tweaks to the building design pushed plans back, said County Manager Brian Donat.
"There were a few problems with how the earthwork was designed, and so we had to go back and make tweaks in the design of the building -- precisely, the layout of the building on the property itself," Donat said.
For Davis, it has been worth the wait. The new shelter will boast more space to house dogs and cats, and will allow new animals to be quarantined. It will be able to house 55 dogs and 35 cats, compared to 35 dogs and 17 cats at the current shelter.
According to Davis, each canine kennel will have a separate air circulation system to prevent the spread of communicable diseases like kennel cough and distemper, and each kennel will be separated by concrete walls, preventing dogs from coming into direct contact with each other and potentially spreading disease.
"I think it's a plus to be able to treat our animals better than they were being treated," Donat said. "Now they're not subject to as many diseases as they were, because new animals will be segregated from the existing population until they can be determined to be healthy. Any time you operate an animal shelter, that safety measure is always ideal."