Effort to build animal shelter gaining traction

The Weiser River Animal Shelter and Rescue founding organization is working hard to bring an important service to Washington County. A big part of its mission is make sure all animals are adopted and find good homes. Stock photo
Philip A. Janquart

Group looking for volunteers, funds to get worthy project off the ground

A group in Weiser is leading a renewed charge to build an animal shelter and rescue in Weiser.

 Splintered from another effort that was launched over a year ago, the new organization is called the Weiser River Animal Shelter and Rescue (WRAS&R).
 The goal is to build Washington County’s first “no-kill” facility for dogs and cats aimed at providing abandoned, neglected, and homeless animals in Washington County with veterinary care, vaccinations, nutritious food, and finding loving, forever homes for each one.
 So far, there are 42 members and a board of directors that has already secured 501c3 nonprofit status in Idaho. 
 They recently participated in the annual Idaho Gives campaign that raises money for Idaho nonprofits. Held May 1-4, the event resulted in $4,806, according to the Idaho Gives website, that will go toward the cause.
 “We are going to build an animal shelter here in Washington County; it’s going to become a reality with help from the community,” said WRAS&R Fundraiser and Volunteer Coordinator An’a Verdi. “We are just trying to gather that village of support together. The conversation has been going on for a while, but we are now working toward some action in getting something going.”
 Volunteers have been busy working with local veterinarians and have launched a monthly, first-come first-serve, voucher program to help those in need with spays and neuters. 
 They are also touring animal shelters statewide, learning about their programs and how they got started.
 Some of the facilities already toured include McPaws in McCall. 
 The no-kill shelter has been in operation for 21 years and has a daily staff of three to four individuals, not including volunteers. It consists of a shelter, vet clinic, and thrift store, which brings in between $100,000 and $150,000 per year. In addition, McPaws receives $15,000 per year from the county and $40,000 from the city, but most of its operational funds come through private donations, according to a WRAS&R brochure.
 The staff at McPaws advised starting with a TNR (trap, neuter, release) program, which WRAS&R plans to do in the future.
 In order to achieve the kind of facility McCall residents enjoy, a building site and subsequent building is crucial. Volunteers and board members are actively searching for property on which they could potentially build the shelter. 
 They are looking for two to five acres of land. A property with an existing structure that could be renovated and transformed into the needed facility would work. Properties with dilapidated buildings that could be demolished and land with no structures would also work. An animal lover who wants to donate land and receive a tax write-off would be ideal.
 One way the group is working to raise funds is through its membership program. An annual membership costs $25 and comes with a yard sign, quarterly digital newsletter, and special emails to inform members of the latest shelter news.
 Members can vote for board trustees at the group’s annual meeting and even run for a position themselves. They are also invited to participate in events, fundraisers, and take part in volunteer opportunities.
 Currently, there is a fundraiser taking place at Station 30 Collectibles and More. Through May 31, patrons can add a donation to their purchase.
 “This has been extremely well met,” Verdi said.
 Weiser Little Theater has also pledged a portion of its proceeds from its upcoming comedy “Rex’s Exes,” which opens May 11. Dates are May 11-13, 16, and 18-20.
 The group will be at the Payette Apple Blossom Festival May 18-21 and will conduct a membership/awareness/adoption drive at Station 30 June 16 and 17.
 In addition, WRAS&R is launching its annual yard sale June 21 and 22 and is actively collecting donations.
 Finally, they will hold another membership/awareness/adoption drive at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest June 20-24.
 “We are making sure that we market this as best we can with the budget we have,” Verdi said. “We want to get the word out and make people aware. We really want this to come to fruition. It would, I think, be an important addition to our area.”
 Shelters are a humane way to deal with animals that have been abandoned, neglected, or lost.
 Visit www.weiserriveranimalshelter.com for more information or to volunteer. For those wishing to discuss potential property call John at (208) 550-0500. 


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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