The Cape Coral Animal Shelter (CCAS) met recently with the City of Cape Coral, LAI Construction Management, Koogler Homes, Clary’s Site Work & Developments, Guymann Construction and Maastricht Engineering Inc. on the building site of the future shelter. Work will begin within the next week. A groundbreaking ceremony will be planned and announced soon.

Phase one of the building is expected to be completed within one year. The facility will have an intake area with the newest dog and cat kennel housing, a reception and adoption center, medical, animal grooming and feeding areas, play yard, laundry space and retail sales for post-adoption products.

The Cape Coral Animal Shelter began as an idea in 2013 when JoAnn Elardo, a business owner in Cape Coral, spoke with City Manager, John Szerlag, about the city not having an animal shelter. She asked if the city would help by providing land if the community showed interest. As an animal lover, Szerlag thought it made sense and supported the idea.

Elardo contacted area shelters for interest in a partnership to build in the city of Cape Coral. A shelter in Fort Myers agreed and for a few years, a group of dedicated people in Cape Coral fundraised for the new shelter. In 2016, the Fort Myers shelter stated they did not want to build or expand.  When announcing this to Cape Coral supporters, Elardo and Jacque Miloff agreed to establish the Cape Coral Animal Shelter and continue with this project so needed by the city. A board of directors was formed and, although discouraged from the previous promise to build, an enthusiastic group came together with the goal of saving animals.

Once the all-volunteer board and committees had been established, a successful capital campaign and multiple small to large events were held to raise funding for the shelter.  All the hard work has paid off as, within two years, the Cape Coral Animal Shelter is about to break ground.

Board President JoAnn Elardo stated, “We have a hardworking and dedicated board that wanted to see this built to save lives. We did not think it would start within two years, but we worked hard.”

“The building plans have been approved, LAI Design has drawn up a beautifully designed shelter. We will have the newest features and technology for SWFL right here in Cape Coral.”

“Our shelter will not only be a place that loving pets will find homes, it will also be an educational facility for the community and children to learn about pet care. We will also work with the Cape Coral Technical College by allowing students in the veterinary technician program to do fieldwork with the best and newest equipment available.”

“This shelter is designed around the needs of pets and our community. It takes a lot to get a building of this magnitude up and, if we did not have the generous people and businesses of Cape Coral, we would still be waiting. Our hope is the Cape Coral Animal Shelter will reduce the number of pets being euthanized throughout Florida and make a difference by providing a service for the community.”

The building team is comprised of LAI Construction Management, Inc. as General Contractor and Koogler Homes as Project Manager. The square footage of the facility is 7,756 square feet.

“CCAS is happy to announce that Rick Losee from LAI Construction Management and Don Koogler from Koogler Homes will be leading the building of the Animal Shelter. I have worked with both on other projects and we now have the best builders in Southwest Florida working on our Shelter. Experience, knowledge, and support of this project have been a blessing. We are so proud to have LAI Construction Management and Koogler Homes as part of the many builders and tradespeople that are supporting this project. The support has been really awesome,” said Elardo.

About LAI Construction Management: 

LAI Construction Management offers detailed planning and construction services for many projects, from master-planned communities to commercial buildings, schools, office buildings, single family residences and senior housing. With over 158 years of combined team experience and dedication to service, LAI provides superior design and construction that builds enduring client relationships.

About Koogler Homes: 

Koogler Homes’ founder and owner, Don Koogler, is a master craftsman who has been creating luxury residences in Florida since 1996. Koogler Homes has established a reputation for outstanding design and uncompromising quality. The company’s success extends beyond the construction of traditional single-family homes and includes a broad expertise in areas such as luxury residential finishes, and high-caliber renovation and remodel projects.

About LAI Design Associates: 

LAI Design Associates is a full-service engineering firm qualified in all facets of design/build projects. Their team of experts offers innovative design, engineering, planning, and construction services for commercial, educational and residential projects throughout South Florida.

About Cape Coral Animal Shelter: 

The Cape Coral Animal Shelter, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter, will be located at 325 SW 2nd Ave., a 4.6-acre site next to Sun Splash Family Waterpark. As a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter, the organization is dedicated to engaging a special bond between people and animals by means of adoption services, medical care, education and training for the prevention of cruelty and abandonment. The shelter will provide a safe place where animals will receive the care they need and remain until they are placed in a qualified, forever home. More information on the Shelter can be found at

For more information on Cape Coral Animal Shelter, contact: