Granville resident Amy Deeds was thrilled when the Licking County Humane Society called to tell her a dachshund was available for adoption.

Granville resident Amy Deeds was thrilled when the Licking County Humane Society called to tell her a dachshund was available for adoption.

"We're dachshund people from way back," she said. "He's a sweetheart. We feel incredibly fortunate."

Deeds and her husband, Scott Gowans, already had three rescue dogs from various shelters, but, she said, a volunteer at the Licking County Humane Society knew about her fondness for dachshunds and called when the 2-and-a-half-year-old male was surrendered.

"They are very committed to taking care of as many animals as they can, but they have so little space," Deeds said.

Licking County Humane Society executive director Lori Carlson agrees about the space, which is why the humane society should have a new base of operations by December.

The humane society has occupied its current building on Dog Leg Road near state Route 13 for 45 years. The 1,400-square-foot facility on roughly one-quarter acre of land can house 30 animals at a time. She said it does not have space for families to meet with their prospective pets before adoption, and it has limited storage, no offices or meeting rooms and no place to exercise the dogs.

"We need a bigger building so we can accept more surrenders," Carlson said, referring to dogs and cats left at the humane society because their owners can no longer care for them.

"We get a lot of abandoned (pets) on our property. It's terrible, because we just don't have the room to take care of them. People would literally throw their pets over the fence."

Carlson said last year, the Licking County Humane Society had 523 animals for adoption. Of those, 200 were abandoned on the property, 191 were surrenders, 98 were referred from the county humane agent for abuse and neglect and 34 were pulled from the Licking County Animal Shelter.

She said with all that activity, the humane society needed a new location. Following a favorable feasibility study, the Licking County Humane Society board decided to move forward with a capital campaign to expand its facilities to accommodate the growing number of dogs and cats without homes.

On April 11, 2011, a 4-acre parcel with a gray barn on Thornwood Drive in Heath was purchased. Through endowment funds and a designated bequest, the land and building were purchased for $250,000. With renovations and improvements of $1 million, the total project cost will be $1.25 million.

Carlson said the humane society should move into the new facility at the end of this year.

She said the new building can house up to 100 animals and will provide ample outdoor space to exercise the dogs.

Renovations will include a 4,200-square-foot addition to the barn. The humane society on April 4 held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Thornwood Drive site and accepted a $1,500 donation from Newark-based Hopewell Dental Care as a result of the virtual Share a Smile program. The program, which ran Feb. 1 through March 15, donated $10 to the humane society for each new fan or picture of a smiling fan with his or her pet posted on Hopewell's Facebook page.

The current humane society building is next to the Licking County Animal Shelter. Carlson hopes the new location, which is several miles away, will remind people that the two organizations are unrelated and differ from each other in several ways.

According to the Licking County Humane Society's website, the Licking County Animal Shelter (also called "the pound") is the county animal control facility that accepts all domestic animals and investigates cruelty reports or other crimes and complaints regarding domestic animals. Carlson said the shelter chooses not to accept surrendered pets of any kind.

The humane society is a no-kill, nonprofit organization. It accepts only adoptable dogs and cats of sound health and temperament, and all animals must pass an intake screening by appointment only. The humane society is unable to accept walk-in drop-offs, according to the website.

Originally formed by a group of Newark citizens in 1966, the Licking County Humane Society operates through fundraising, memberships and donations.

Carlson said the Licking County Humane Society also is responsible for the county's humane agent through a partnership with Licking County. The humane agent responds to calls of alleged animal abuse, neglect and abandonment, and intercedes when necessary to remove animals from harmful situations outside the Newark city limits.

She said the humane agent is the only position affiliated with the humane society that receives public funding because the humane agent serves the entire county, not just the humane society.

Carlson said that after the humane society is settled at its new location, she would like to focus upon solving the county's problem with too many feral, or untamed, cats. Also, Carlson would like for the society to spend more time offering humane education in the county's schools and community organizations.

"We'd like to start teaching kids as early as possible how to take care of animals," she said.

Deeds said the Licking County Humane Society took care of her and her new dachshund when she arrived to meet the dog.

She said the person she worked with at the society carefully assessed her and her husband's ability to take care of the dachshund.

"She didn't just say, 'Here, take him,'" Deeds said. "It was, 'Let's make sure you're the right person to take care of this dog for the rest of his life.' I was impressed."