Three days after a fire devastated its headquarters, the Jacksonville Humane Society has begun moving dogs back into its Southside facility.
The building caught fire early Saturday morning, killing nearly 100 cats and dogs. Firefighters opened as many kennels as they could as they fought the flames and several dogs were seen fleeing the burning building.
Some of the dogs that were rescued from the flames were returned on Tuesday to the kennels that were not damaged during the fire.
Humane Society staff and volunteers said the sight of dogs coming back to the facility was a great thing for them to see.
The dogs appeared happy as well as they left their crates and returned to the larger kennels, from where they will eventually be adopted.
"We will be open for public adoption starting on Monday," said Humane Society Executive Director Leona Sheddan.
City inspectors gave the Humane Society the OK to allow the dogs to return because the kennels were not too badly damaged.
The main problem at the facility is in an adjacent building, where city inspectors hung signs condemning the building.
The condemned building is where the cats were kept.
"We have to find an appropriate facility to house the cats. So, it will probably be a little longer before we bring cats in," Sheddan said. "We are looking at modular buildings, and things of that nature, but will want to make sure that the cats are appropriately housed and comfortable."
The Humane Society also lost its office and computers in Saturday's fire. It has set up a temporary office, where staff will coordinate the adoptions and work to get the full shelter operational.
Workers said the barking dogs in the kennels is a sound they have been waiting to hear.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done at the Humane Society. The fire caused about $1 million worth of damage and part of the complex is listed as a total loss.
The Humane Society said its insurance is expected to pick up some of the cost, but the society is underinsured and that's why it's asking for donations.
Board members and staff said they would rebuild either on their own or in conjunction with the city of Jacksonville.
Since the fire, many people have been making donations, saying they feel compelled because of the animals.
People have taken their donations to the gate of the Humane Society or donated online at the Humane Society's Web site. The public's donations have totaled more than $87,000 -- not including the funds that are being donated via Channel 4's phone bank or the people who have deposited money into bank accounts.
"I would like to see a new facility for the animals," said Brett Chamberlin, who donated to the Humane Society.
A new facility for the animals is part of the Humane Society's plans for the donated money, according to its executive director.
"We have to replace all the equipment that we lost, immediately. The rest of the money is going into a building fund to make sure we get our building built as quickly as possible to be able to take care of the animals appropriately," Sheddan said.