Animal shelter given three month extension

The Weiser City Council recently voted to allow a local shelter to continue housing cats for another three months.
 Cheri Gordon, who runs Felines Needing Purrfect Homes from the garage of her house on Galloway St. in Weiser, was given six months last summer to find homes for dozens of cats.  
 Under current code, private residences within city limits are allowed six cats before it becomes a violation of city ordinance. 
 Gordon has since been working to find temporary homes for the animals while a temporary shelter is found.
 It has been a challenge and, to date, not many cats have been successfully adopted out, with 24 of the original 28 remaining. Some of those cats came to Gordon through the City of Weiser, a fact Weiser Police Chief  Carl Smith confirmed at a regular city council meeting on Dec. 12.  During that meeting, the council voted unanimously to give Gordon a three-month extension to find homes for the cats.  The council also indicated its intention to explore potential changes to city code to at least  provide room for a temporary shelter.
 “We received an opinion from our attorneys and at this time, the zoning does not allow for this … we want to make that clear to begin with,” said Weiser Mayor Randy Hibberd. “But it doesn’t mean we can’t work toward amending the code to make for an allowance.”
 Since receiving notice that she would need to clear out her animals, Gordon has worked diligently to put together a task force, which has been broken into various committees, each assigned various duties in the overall goal of finding property for a permanent shelter, including fundraising, marketing, and construction. 
 Another committee has been charged with completing and submitting the necessary paperwork to form a nonprofit for what is now being called Weiser River Animal Shelter.
 John Aergerter, speaking on behalf of the group, said on Dec. 12 that Michelle Arntson, owner of the Crescent Bar, located at 328 State St. in Weiser, offered use of her property as a temporary shelter. The bar was closed down some time ago and remains vacant.
 “It’s in very good shape on the inside,” Aergerter said. “It has heating and air conditioning, water, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and lots of space.”
 He added that the location would provide the group with needed visibility.
 “We want people to know about us, to be able to stop when they are downtown, drive by and take a look at what we are doing,” he said.
 Councilmembers Sterling Blackwell and Layna Hafer expressed support for Gordon, stating that what she does provides a valuable service to the community and that the city needs to move forward with potential code changes.
 Hibberd said the city is doing just that, moving forward to find a solution, but that it will take time.
 “In a communication from our attorneys, they are saying they are working on some draft ordinances, so that we can move forward, and take a look at this,” he said. “It would have to go through the normal zoning processes, which would require public hearings and notification to property owners citywide, then come before planning and zoning, and then the city council, so you are talking several months.”

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