A conceptual image shows the type of facility that ICARE and the county hope to replace with the current animal shelter. The facility in use now was a milk barn built in the 1920s that became the county animal shelter in the 1960s. Image courtesy ICARE
People in Inyo and Mono counties who love animals will be pleased to know a final, mighty effort is under way to get the rest of the money needed to build a brand new animal shelter and pet adoption center in Big Pine.
The fundraising campaign, organized by the ICARE animal welfare nonprofit, is being called â€śRaise the Roof â€“ a Cause for Paws,â€ť and is designed to wring the last of the capital needed from the Inyo/Mono community. About $300,000 is still required to build the facility, which is estimated to cost $800,000.
Itâ€™s well known that the current shelter was never intended to function as an animal shelter. Built in the 1920s, it was originally a milk barn, but converted to a shelter for homeless dogs and cats in the 1960s. Since then, numerous modifications have been made to adapt the building to its current need. Right now itâ€™s a collage of purposes: the sole office in the facility is also the lunchroom, meeting room, grooming station and vet area. The cat room is way too small and poorly lit, the dog kennels are drafty, and there isnâ€™t enough space. According to ICARE President Ted Shade in a press release, â€śThe time has come to move out of the old, inefficient, uncomfortable facility.â€ť
The new facility, Shade continued, â€śis taking into consideration current and future needs and will have about 40 percent more dog kennels and cat cages. It will have outdoor areas for the pets, feeding and grooming rooms and a comfortable space for the public and county staff.â€ť
That a new shelter will be a more efficient shelter is the belief of staff and volunteers. Said Shade, â€śWith less time spent on daily cleaning and maintenance, staff and volunteers will be able to spend more time with the animals to improve behavior and ready the pets for their new homes. In addition, a more inviting facility will attract more visitors, adopters and volunteers, enabling more animals to be saved.â€ť
ICARE and Inyo County have been collaborating for 15 years to euthanize as few animals as possible and to find homes for as many as possible. With the Raise the Roof â€“ a Cause for Paws campaign, the community will join in this partnership. Donors will be acknowledged on a â€śDonor Recognition Wallâ€ť at the new facility.
â€śPlatinum Pawsâ€ť will go to contributors who donate at least $5,000 â€“ enough to fund one dog kennel or two cat cages; â€śGold Pawsâ€ť will go to donors who contribute at least $2,500, enough to fund one cat cage. Those giving at least $1,000 will become â€śSilver Pawâ€ť donors and everyone donating $500 will be a â€śBronze Pawâ€ť donor.
But donations of any amount are needed and appreciated. The project could be put over the top by the same people who volunteer their time walking dogs at the kennel, or those who just pay attention to posters around town of lost or found animals.
â€śFor such a small community, we have a great group of volunteers,â€ť said Nancy Hardy, owner of Bonafide Dog Training in Bishop who also runs Eastern Sierra Dog Rescue, which has organized numerous pet adoption events over the years. â€śThese people come out every week, or sometimes twice a week, to walk the dogs or hold the cats. They make such a difference in the animalsâ€™ lives.â€ť
For more information on the new animal shelter andÂ petÂ adoptionÂ centerÂ and on the â€śRaise the Roof â€“ a Cause for Pawsâ€ť fundraising campaign, visit the ICARE website atÂ ICAREforPets.orgÂ or call ICARE at (760) 872-3802.