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Gimme Shelter

Regional animal facility seeks land donation from city for site

— A land donation by the city would help spur on efforts for a proposed regional animal shelter located at Grangeville.

Last week, Melisa Bryant, representing Animal Rescue Foundation, Inc., (ARF) spoke before the Grangeville City Council on the nonprofit group’s focus in providing a self-sustaining facility to serve public and private interests in both handling and adopting out unwanted, abandoned and abused pets.

Based on its research of shelters in communities of similar size, ARF seeks the city to donate approximately one acre of land adjacent to the wastewater treatment plant on Airport Road where a proposed 3,000-foot facility would be developed to accommodate both a pet shelter area, as well as an adjoining thrift shop. The estimated $900,000 facility is proposed to be funded through multiple public and private organization grants, but before those can be secured a site must be identified, according to Bryant.

“We want this to be community-driven and community-based,” Bryant said, funded through donations, fund-raisers and operations; employing a shelter manager and thrift shop supervisor, supplemented with volunteer staff. Community discussions would direct how the shelter would meet local needs; and moving forward from there ARF would seek partnerships with cities and the county on animal control efforts that propose to reduce related costs to those local governments.

Among ARF’s long-term goals would be creation of a regional animal control officer position as a partnership between local city and county governments.

Consistent through Bryant’s presentation at the council’s Sept. 8 meeting was working to meet community needs and avoid duplication of existing services. To meet council concerns for longevity of such a facility, she said ARF would set a series of benchmarks to meet city standards throughout the process; and in forming city and county partnerships, representatives from those entities would be invited to serve on the board. Regarding Animal Ark’s 20-plus years serving animal shelter and adoption needs in the region, its representatives are involved with ARF and the group will merge with this new organization. As well, the thrift store would be based on a Habitat for Humanity model in recycling out reusable building materials otherwise thrown out.

“We’re not looking at cities or the county to be the funding mechanism for this,” clarified Bryant on ARF, which is focused on being self-sustaining. “We have no intention of having our hand out.”

Regionally, animal control problems exist, and city efforts to address this vary. According to Bryant, Grangeville Police Department has a part-time ordinance/animal control officer, and operates a shelter; and towns such as Cottonwood and Kamiah have small pounds. No county ordinances address at-large animals, and the sheriff’s office has no way to address them were they to be impounded. Informal discussions with local governments have been favorable toward a regional shelter that would be centrally located in Grangeville.

“It was amazing to me that in every community we looked at with a shelter, it blew me away with the amount of support they had,” Bryant said. “I can’t imagine our region being any different.”


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