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Builders line up to help pet project

Judy Sarullo with Uhara in 2014, when her new shelter opened in Sanford.
Judy Sarullo with Uhara in 2014, when her new shelter opened in Sanford.(Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda)

Orlando builders are coming together for a project on which they most definitely stand to lose money.

A group of builders and contractors will be constructing a building that will house the new spaying and neutering service offered by Judy Sarullo.

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Best known by her company's name, Pet Rescue by Judy, Sarullo will be adding the 3,200-square-foot clinic next door to her pet rescue center on Laurel Avenue in Sanford.

And, as was the case in 2014, when the rescue center was formed out of a dilapidated 85-year-old building, builders are virtually lining up to make the adjacent empty plot of land into a clinic.

They will be supplying everything from sidewalk removal to procedure rooms. All work will be done for free or at a nominal cost. And the builders couldn't be happier.

"You have to take care of the critters," said John Gunther, vice president of Speedy Concrete Cutting in Longwood.

Speedy will provide concrete cutting and demolition, as needed, after helping out on the first project, the pet rescue center.

Builders say it's Sarullo's commitment to the animals that gets them. They also don't always go home empty handed.

During the building of the animal rescue center Gunther's company adopted a dog that was named Speedy and has now become the company's mascot. Two employees also couldn't resist and went back and adopted dogs.

"There is something about Judy that makes you want to help," Gunther said.

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David Horn, project manager at HuntonBrady Architects of Orlando, feels the same way.

First off, he ended up with a cat after meeting Sarullo. Then he took the proposed project back to executives at his firm and got a resounding yes about doing the design.

"We're a very dog- and cat-friendly company, so we volunteered to do the job when we heard about it," Horn said.

The low cost spay and neuter clinic he designed has exam rooms, a large procedure room, recovery spaces, an isolation room for potentially contagious animals and a suite where new additions to the center become acclimated to people.

"It's just great how the building community is coming together to do this," Horn said.

Other key players in the project are general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie and TLC Engineering for Architecture, Sarullo said.

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The project will not be without cost to Sarullo. She said she has taken out a $250,000 loan and needs another $100,000 to $200,000 for the clinic to be built. She plans grassroots efforts, including fundraisers, and also hopes to raise money from adoption fees.

If all goes according to plan, ground will be broken for the clinic in January, with completion two or three months later.

After that, Sarullo won't rest easy. "I'm sure I will come up with something else," she said.

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