Construction Underway for Voorhees Animal Orphanage’s New Facility

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Construction for Voorhees Animal Orphanage’s (VAO) much-needed new facility is finally underway.  Built on VAO’s existing site on 419 Cooper Road in Voorhees, next to the Voorhees Township Fire Department, the new 8,900 sq. foot facility will be completed in phases to minimize any disruptions to VAO’s furry “residents.”  

Phase I includes the completion of 42 dog kennels which will be 50% greater in size than the current kennels, a mechanical room and an exercise room outfitted with treadmills for dogs. VAO anticipates a new building opening by the end of 2019.

“We’re excited that our dream facility is finally coming together,” said Jen Bailey, Marketing Director, VAO. “Throughout the construction process, VAO will be open. We encourage people to stop in and meet our adorable cats and dogs who are up for adoption.”

VAO’s new facility is long overdue as it has been housed in its existing facility since 1988.

“We’ve been band-aiding the repairs for so long that our band-aids need band-aids, duct tape, and glue to hold the repairs together,” said David Semless, president, VAO Board of Directors. “The new building will help us continue our mission of providing loving care to our cats and dogs in a more efficient manner.”

Despite its challenges, VAO has saved the lives of more than 30,000 cats and dogs – never turning away a cat or dog in need – since its inception. “This new facility will help us to efficiently continue our mission of providing loving care to our cats and dogs until we can find them their forever homes,” says Semless.

VAO Calls for Community’s Help

Although VAO is a community animal shelter serving 21 municipalities in southern New Jersey, including 16 towns in Camden County, it does not receive any government funding. “We’ve been  scraping and saving on our own for years,” said Bailey. “We are not building the Taj Mahal by any means. Our facility will be modestly built, and equipped with donated furniture.”

To pay for construction costs, VAO has embarked on a $1.6 million campaign “Building for A Pawsitive Future.” VAO offers a variety of ways to get involved, including straight donations to naming rights.


The new shelter will double the space that VAO has to care for its cats and dogs and generate adoptions and will feature:

  • Dog kennels that are 50% larger
  • Separate cat and dog meet-and-greet rooms
  • “Cat Colonies” – space that will allow cats to socialize with each other
  • Separate cat area with a larger cat room– offering cats their own sanctuary
  • Six ventilation systems to improve cleanliness and reduce the spread of germs and common shelter illnesses such as upper respiratory infections
  • Two separate dog kennel wings with a dedicated quarantine area for dogs who are sick or recovering from surgery
  • Separate space for medical examinations
  • A larger, more accommodating lobby to welcome guests and facilitate adoptions
  • A laundry room, feed room and utilities room
  • Lunch room for staff that will also serve as meeting space
  • Storage space for pet food and supplies

To make a donation to support VAO’s Building for a Pawsitive Future” Capital Campaign or to learn more, click here.

About the Voorhees Animal Orphanage

Founded in 1988, the Voorhees Animal Orphanage (VAO) is a nonprofit community animal shelter and 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to providing shelter, food and medical care to stray and unwanted animals, until permanent and loving homes can be found. VAO does not receive any local, state or federal funding.

VAO relies on grants and generous contributions of individuals and corporations. Currently, VAO serves 21 towns in southern New Jersey, 16 of which are in Camden County.

VAO strives to meet a 90 percent live release rate (no-kill) and works with rescue partners across the country to rescue animals from overcrowded and high-kill shelters.

To learn more about VAO and its “Building for a Pawsitive Future” Capital Campaign, click here.

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