Shelter cannot take in animals after storm destroyed facility
The St. Paul Animal Shelter updated Town Council on Monday evening on their situation; which is what some may call dire. The shelter’s facility was ruined by a storm and they can no longer house animals there. Because of this, the shelter can no longer take in animals for long or short term housing. Trish Ellis and Charlene Whiskeyjack, with the St. Paul Animal Shelter, asked Council for assistance in finding a temporary facility or funds to help construct one.
“We’re temporarily operating out of an office, being provided by Community Futures, as we no longer have a building to work out of,” explains Ellis. “We no longer have a building to house animals with our building being unfit. We are running a couple of foster homes for short-term housing for small or injured pets.” Ellis says the shelter has been able to work with a local kennel, which provides two dog kennels for temporary housing.
Mayor of St. Paul, Glenn Andersen, explained to Ellis that he found this an important community service and he had already asked at least one facility if it would be a viable option for temporary housing. Unfortunately, that did not pan out, “I don’t think the Town has [a Town-owned] building that could work for you right now and I know we don’t want to go back to what we had in the past.” There were some other ideas for temporary housing tossed around and Council will help the group explore some options.
“This means that after approximately a week, we have to transfer any unclaimed animals to other facilities. This is not viable in the spring or fall, as the other agencies are full and unable to accept transfers. Therefore we may have to transfer to agencies that may not be no-kill.” Ellis explains this could be a big issue for people who, for whatever reason, cannot claim their pet in a short period of time.
“Normally, we have all the pets vet-checked, micro-chipped, spayed or neutered, and assessed for personality and temperament. This isn’t viable due to lack of housing available for long-term,” this can pose a big problem for the animal shelter and the safety of other animals; thus another reason why they cannot take animals at this time.
Ellis explains that once the new facility is built, the shelter should be back to fully operational; however the shelter, which is not government funded, is having trouble securing the funds to build the facility and have not found a temporary home until the facility is built. The animal shelter has applied for government grants to assist in building the facility, but have not heard back regarding funding at this time.
The St. Paul Animal Shelter held their first annual 5K Glow Run on Saturday, September 24th and was able to raise over $4,000. A great accomplishment, but a far way from being able to construct a new facility. The shelter has land they can put a facility on, but believes it will be quite a while before they are able to secure the funds necessary to build the operations. The cost of constructing the main building is approximately $500,000. The group has raised over $100,000 so far, “if we could raise $300,000 we could build a shell and basic services to be operational. We have a contractor lined up, who has everybody ready for this project. We do own the land that it’s going to be constructed on; there’s a well, gas and power.” The County of St. Paul is assisting the group by clearing the land and providing $25,000 in gravel.
The group is hopeful that a local organization that has space available, may be able to step in to help house the animals. The space would need water and heat, along with space for an office, a vet-check room and a secluded space for animals who may be sick or temperamental. If you are able to assist in temporary housing, contact Trish Ellis at 780-645-4444 or email [email protected]