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Sanctuary at Haafsville opens a new cat adoption center

The Sanctuary at Haafsville and the Western Lehigh Chamber of Commerce had a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony July 29 for the Sanctuary’s new Cat Adoption Center, 7209 Kernsville Road, Orefield.

Hayden Rinde, assistant vice president of the affiliate of the Western Lehigh Chamber of Commerce, spoke with The Press about the partnership with the Sanctuary before the ceremony.

“The Sanctuary is one of the Chamber of Commerce members and they reached out to us to partner and help them put the word out on this event,” Rinde said. “We’re really excited to be here today and celebrate the expansion of the Sanctuary at Haafsville and to see their services continue to grow and the number of animals that they’re able to continue to help.”

Tanya Smargiassi, president of the Sanctuary of Haafsville, discussed how they acquired the property for the Cat Adoption Center.

“We decided our former building was not doing well and, in the best interest of our volunteers and for the health of our cats, we decided we needed to look for another building,” she said. “We started looking around the Valley and narrowed it down to a couple.

“This used to be the former Orefield Veterinary Clinic, so it was pretty much set up already for animals.”

“It was a natural fit for us to be able to move into here. We didn’t have to do a lot of upgrades, just some minor things.”

She added there will probably be about 40 to 50 cats on average at the site.

“This is for all types of cats,” Smargiassi said. “We have cats of all ages and then the kittens we don’t keep on premises because we like to keep those in foster care so that they can be acclimated and touched and played with and stuff and get used to human touch.

“But they do come in on adoption days, so we have everything from kittens up through the older cats.”

Smargiassi also commented on the future goals for the property.

“Essentially, we want to be able to provide the best environment for our cats so we can save as many as we can,” she said. “This building affords us the possibility of separating the cats by personality.

“We have one room for shy cats, one room that is more open for outgoing cats.

“We also have a room designated for cats that have some medical issues.

“Our goal would be to continue helping us in our mission to save as many cats as we possibly can, but provided it allows us to give our cats a better more healthier environment and it’s better for our volunteers as well.”

Western Lehigh Chamber of Commerce member Carol Ulrich spoke about Paws at the Park held at Grange Park in Upper Macungie Township.

“In addition to welcoming dogs and their owners for a day of vendors, raffles, food trucks and our newest dog show competition, thanks to Tori Morgan. The key component of this event is raising funds to support a local animal nonprofit organization,” she said. “We had the honor of showcasing the Sanctuary at Haafsville as this year’s beneficiary and we are excited to be able to present a check to the Sanctuary team today for $3,000 to support all the cats and dogs in their care now and in the months to come.”

Also addressing the crowd was state Rep. Zach Mako, R-183rd.

“I just want to say thank you for inviting me to this great event,” Mako said. “I really appreciate what the volunteers are doing. This is an excellent expansion for the organization to be able to provide a home for these cats.

“I was just thinking of the four animals that I have at home, three of them are rescues.

“I have two cats and two dogs. We recently just picked up a puppy mill dog.

“We rescued her and she’s been the absolute joy of our house. Not that it wasn’t joyful before, but it’s joyful now that we have another little sweetheart in our family.”

Robert Arena, outreach director for state Sen. Jarrett Coleman, R-16th, also addressed the gathering.

“Good morning, everybody. On behalf of state Sen. Jarrett Coleman, it is a great honor to be here to present you with this Certificate of Recognition from the Pennsylvania Senate congratulating you on not only opening this new facility to the board and the volunteers, but 12 years of success bringing homes to over 12,000 animals,” Arena said “That is something that we truly need more of in the district.

“And thank you so much for collaborating with over 15 municipalities to do so. Thank you.”

Smargiassi gave closing remarks.

After introducing the Sanctuary board members, she gave special thanks to the Chamber for helping them get the word out about their new facility.

“I do want to thank the Sanctuary board,” Smargiassi said. “The board works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that this happened and that we can do everything in our power to give our animals the best care that they can get. So, thank you.

“I also want to give a huge thank you to Kelly Drageland, our cat care manager and Jayne Anne Bissell, she is our cat support staff person.

“They work very long hours in order to care for our cats. So, thank you.

“And a huge, huge, thank you to all our cat volunteers. Essentially without them we could not do what we do. They are here day in, day out.”

Smargiassi said the Sanctuary is open to the public every Saturday.

“From 10 a.m. to noon we have adoption hours by appointment. From noon to 2 p.m. it is open to the public so you don’t need an appointment, you can just come on in and look at the cats,” she said. “And our information is out there so that they can email or give us a phone call to make arrangements to come in to see the cats.”

She said prospective clients can view cats or dogs available for adoption on their website or Petfinders.

PRESS PHOTO BY SUSAN BRYANT Laura Danner and her daughter Octavia, of New Ringgold, play with Comet, one of the adult cats at the Sanctuary of Haafsville grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony July 29 at the Sanctuary's new Cat Adoption Center in Orefield.