Residents to explore county shelter

  A meeting to discuss the possibility of an animal shelter in Washington County is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at the train depot in Weiser.

 Cheri Gordan, who operates the non-profit “Felines Needing Purrfect Homes,” a cat rescue and adoption organization in Weiser, has called the meeting.
 “We are hoping people can help us come up with some ideas on how we could fund it, or maybe someone has some property they are willing to let us use - who knows,” Gordon said last week. “That’s why we want to bring the community together. I think just getting a lot of heads together is going to be a good thing, people throwing out ideas and suggestions.”
 Gordon has been brainstorming about how to continue providing her services since she was informed by the city’s code enforcement officer that her operation will soon be shut down. 
 “I haven’t received a notice yet,” she said. “Chuck (Green) just stopped by and said they were going to be closing us down.”
 The verbal notice comes on the heels of an agreement between the City of Weiser and Canines and Special Pet Rehoming owner Charlie Prentiss, who rescues and rehomes dogs, to drop opposing lawsuits in a case involving city code and kennels operated within city limits.
 Under the agreement, Prentiss, among other stipulations, can no longer keep more than four dogs at her home at one time and is now fostering out her rescued animals.
 Gordon, who has six full-time volunteers to help with the workload, said she has until the end of August to wrap things up.
 “We’ve been doing this for two and a half years and, yes, it’s disappointing,” she said. “My garage was only supposed to be temporary anyway. It was a place to start, we thought, but then we got so busy with the cats, we really didn’t have any opportunity to go looking for other space.”
 Gordon seems to be keeping a positive attitude and said that, perhaps, something good can come of her operation closing its doors.
 “I’m hoping that we can make the community aware and start getting something going; that would be awesome,” she said.
 Gordon said that there are a few major requirements to consider in order for the proposed shelter to operate and function properly.
Shelter needs
 “A shelter should be built in a central location accessible to the population being served,” she said. “We are looking for a commercial building and property that is in the correct zoning, with a minimum of 3,000-square feet and an outside exercise area. It would need to be accessible during reasonable hours. With the number of dogs and cats over the years, this would be a great start.”
 Veterinary services would also be needed, according to Gordon who said she would also like to provide low-cost spay/neuter services.
 “Another important program is TNR (trap, neuter, release) of feral cats,” she said. “This involves trapping a colony and putting them back. Many communities are doing this to help keep the rodent population down. We have been trying to find barns, farmers, and ranchers with hay and other people in rural areas that need to keep mice down.”
 Revenue for the shelter could come from a doggy day care, adoption fees, animal sponsorship, donations, microchip clinics, fundraising, and potential investors.
 “We would want to get lost animals back home as soon as possible, which is why microchipping is so important,” she said. 
 Some of her other ideas include interviewing potential adopters and developing contracts for adoptions.
 “Kittens and puppies must be spayed/neutered at 6-8 months of age, vaccinated, dewormed, and microchipped,” Gordon added. “We would need a contract for surrendered animals, and adoptions still need to be held at public events other than the shelter. There would be discounted adoption fees for veterans and seniors.”
 Ideally, any potential staff would need experience with rescued animals, and there would be a need for volunteers.
 “A petition should be drawn up to get signatures from the citizens to let our political officials know how important it is to have this,” Gordon said.


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