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Humane Society temporarily housing pets from tenants displaced from Windsor apartment building

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It was a joyful and tear-filled reunion for Cindy Thibert and her dog, Hercules.

As one of the tenants evacuated from 1616 Ouellette Ave earlier this week, Thibert was back at the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society on Thursday to pick Hercules up.

Thibert was moved into an emergency shelter set up by the City of Windsor and the Red Cross on Tuesday, after officials ordered an evacuation of the apartment building she lived in for safety reasons.

“Our pets couldn’t go to the shelter, so they took them to the Humane Society,” she said.

Executive director of the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society, Melanie Coulter, said the shelter took in eight dogs, 18 cats and 7 small animals after residents were evacuated from 1616 Ouelette Ave. (Darrin DiCarlo/CBC)

Thibert told CBC News she adopted Hercules from the Humane Society eight years ago.

Windsor/Essex County Humane Society executive director Melanie Coulter said the shelter has taken in eight dogs, 18 cats, and seven small animals (guinea pigs, birds, etc.) Right now, only the dogs are being kept at the Humane Society’s main branch .

“For the cats and small animals and birds, we’ve set up a temporary location,” she said.

“When people are in a crisis situation, they don’t want to lose their animal. They want to make sure their animals are cared for but often have a lot of issues they are dealing with, trying to sort out their own housing,” Coulter received.

A woman with glasses hugs her dog.
Cindy Thibert was reunited with her dog, Hercules, on Thursday after she was evacuated from her 1616 Ouellette Ave. apartment earlier this week. (Darrin DiCarlo/CBC)

When Hercules was brought out, he wiggled, jumped and licked for Thibert’s face so much her glasses almost came off.

“It feels wonderful,” Thibert said with a grin.

Tenants could be displaced for eight months

Thibert said she is staying with her daughter, and was able to bring Hercules, but not all of the building’s residents will have that opportunity.

Marc Nasseh of Larsa Development said he is the project manager for the building.

He told CBC News the building is in need of $3 million in renovations, including new windows, plumbing, changing the washrooms, upgrading all the rooms, the boiler, furnace, and flooring.

Nasseh says the 60 or so residents who are staying at the Constable John Aitkinson Memorial Community Center shelter could be out as long as eight months while they wait for the renovations to be done.

A red-brick building.
The project manager for 1616 Ouellette Ave. says the building needs several renovations including a new roof, an upgraded plumbing system, updated units and flooring. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

“This is a shorter term boarding program, so hopefully we will be able to get most of the animals placed back with their owners, or with friends and family,” Coulter said.

However Thibert said she wasn’t sure all of the animals can be rehoused.

“There’s some people at the shelter, they don’t have relatives here or friends,” she said, adding some residents who are leaving the shelter may be moving in with friends and family who have allergies. And for some, leaving the shelter might not happen at all.

“Most of them don’t have family here,” she said.

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