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BVSPCA Copeland Center prepares to open its doors, first animal ICU in Delaware

The first animal intensive care unit in Delaware is almost ready for service.

The Brandywine Valley SPCA Copeland Center for Animal Welfare in New Castle is modern, efficient, and more than just an adoption center.

The facility has twice the capacity for housing, six exam rooms, two operating rooms and an intensive care unit that doubles clinic space and spay/neuter capabilities from the old location.

That location was stress-inducing for the animals, BVSPCA staff say, but the Copeland Center has outdoor “catios” and dog play yards to improve the quality of life of shelter pets while they wait for their forever homes.

The center is named for lead donor and long-time advocate for animals in need Tatiana Copeland, who says while Delaware is a no-kill state, its rated 48 out of all 50 states for overall quality of life.

“This is such a small state that a lot of people know each other. So you know who to go to to ask for help. [The BVSPCA] came to us, my husband and me, to ask for that help," Copeland said." Maybe in a bigger state, there's so many requests, and it's so costly, and it's so impossible that it doesn't happen. In this small state, where so many people know each other, it's wonderful that we have an incredible system for humans, Christiana Care, and all the hospitals, but we need to have the same thing for dogs and cats.”

Since 2015, Copeland has supported Reggie’s Fund, named after her dog, to cover critical medical needs when families cannot afford it.

A pitbull mix named Amy is one of the Copeland Center's first residents.
Rachel Sawicki
Delaware Public Media
A pitbull mix named Amy is one of the Copeland Center's first residents.

Most notably, the Copeland Center includes the first in-house shelter intensive care unit in Delaware. The ability to treat shelter animals that currently go for outside emergency care will save thousands of dollars, as well as help families who can’t afford specialty care for their pets.

They also hope the center will become a place for community events and a resource for pet owners.

Chief Operating Officer Mike Kaviani says animal shelters are sometimes associated with sadness as a dark and scary place, but the new center is welcoming.

“This is what it should look like, you know? So we get to be able to have a facility that allows us to take that dedication and compassion in a place that makes it that much more possible, you know, tripled the clinic space, the first ICU in Delaware, and it’s built for the animals.”

And BVSPCA is still seeking to fill large and small sponsorship opportunities to close the gap between the total cost for the project and support received thus far.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.