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Rover Gets More Room To Roam With New Play Areas At Bridgeport Shelter

Bridgeport Animal Control celebrates the groundbreaking of three new outdoor play spaces with staff member Eric Cubero and Diesel. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Wallace breaks ground on the new dog play spaces at Bridgeport Animal Control, while Police Chief AJ Perez, third from left, and Mayor Joe Ganim, second from right, look on. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez, left, and Mayor Joe Ganim, second from right, share a laugh with Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Wallace, left of Ganim. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — They say every dog has his day — and Diesel looked pretty sure Thursday was his.

The 3-year-old pit bull was one of two denizens of Bridgeport Animal Control invited out to celebrate the groundbreaking of the three new dog play areas at the Evergreen Street facility.

Funded entirely by $40,000 from the community, the outdoor spaces will allow dogs to roam off leash and learn valuable social skills while mixing with other pups at the state’s largest public dog shelter.

“We’re just going to have happier, healthier dogs,” said Jennifer Wallace, chief animal control officer.

Workers will lay new cement in the three roofed areas, and they will be outfitted with modern drains. Once the spaces are ready, staffers will add safe toys and agility stations to allow dogs to gain confidence through simple training with employees, Wallace said.

“Not only are these fun, but they will be safe and sanitary,” she said.

The shelter held a May fundraiser and started a GoFundMe page that saw significant traffic and donations. Other rescue groups and friends of Bridgeport Animal Control also raised funds to reach the goal.

“We want to provide the best that we can for so many of our best friends,” said Mayor Joe Ganim.

The last time the mayor toured the site he got a chance to walk Duke, a mixed breed he brought back to the Margaret Morton Government Center as a sort of city mascot. The excitement of city business was a little too much for the high-strung pooch, who ended up being formally adopted by a city staffer.

Wallace said her goal is to have the highest adoption rate in the state at the shelter, which can house up to 80 dogs and 50 cats. The play areas will go a long way to making the shelter’s residents more adoptable while they wait for their forever homes.

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