The Dewey Dam Dog and Cat Protection Society, the nonprofit that operates the Floyd County Animal Shelter, launched a donation drive this week to build a new animal shelter.
The shelter kicked off the fundraiser on Feb. 3, the birthday of veterinarian Dr. Rudolph Ousley, who died recently. Officials report the new shelter, once complete, will honor Ousley, who served the animal shelter for decades.
Shelter President Karen Slone said Ousley served the shelter “from day one,” donating services or offering his services at cost to help the shelter. After he died, people reached out to honor him by donating to the shelter. She said officials have been trying to raise funds for a new shelter for some time, but after he died, it seemed fitting to honor him with the name of the new facility.
Slone reported that the group needs between $350,000 and $400,000 for the new facility, and she said that number may change once the design is finalized.
The new shelter will be built on property owned by the City of Prestonsburg near the current facility, Slone said, and the shelter expects to lease the property.
Slone and shelter manager Jackie Brown said the new facility is needed because the current building, which was built int he 1970s, is in disrepair and is too small for the shelter’s needs.
Near the entrance of the shelter, the ceiling tiles are falling down around a ceiling fan. Brown said the problem was caused by a leaking air conditioner, which was repaired once and leaked again.
Problems like that at the facility are coupled with the lack of space — a reason Brown and Slone said a new shelter is needed.
“We’re kind of out of space here,” Brown said. “We have more intakes ... There’s no storage space. It’s not made to be convenient even for people coming in. It’s been kind of falling apart because of outdated material. Building codes, now, are different, than what they were then. Electric, everything is starting to fail.”
Slone said shelter volunteers can’t keep up with the renovations needed there.
“We’ve renovated, renovated, done all we can do, and, you know, it’s just, it’s just not working,” she said.
It currently has 49 kennels for dogs, spaces for cats and puppies, but Slone said the new shelter will have around 60 dog kennels, as well improved area for cats and puppies that gives those animals more room. She said officials hope to provide a turnout area for cats to play at the new facility, as well as separate entrance/exit areas for people dropping off and adopting animals.
“It’s going to be simple. It’ll be nice, but it will be, you know — we’re not trying to make it elaborate. We’re just trying to make it nice and safe,” Slone said.
She said the new facility will also provide a room for potential adoptees to meet with pets.
“We’ll have a little room where people who come to look about adoptions, that they can go in and sit and play with the animal and get to know them,” she said.
Slone said the shelter adopts hundreds of animals every year and the county animal control officer brings animals in almost daily. Every two weeks, the shelter sends out van loads of between 15 and 24 dogs and additional cats to rescue groups that operate in other states.
Slone said the removal of those animals every two weeks doesn’t make a dent in the number of animals still at the shelter.
“Say, we send a transport out of 24 dogs, okay, and maybe some cats. Well that doesn’t even really give us that much space. By sending out that many animals, you would think, oh well, you should have made some room. Not really. I mean, you cannot even tell, hardly. You’ve got some space, but then you’ve got just as many coming right back through the door,” Slone said.
She said within 30 minutes on Sunday they took in three puppies and a dog that “someone had moved off and left.”
On Monday morning, a woman brought a dog to surrender to the shelter, saying her mother’s landlord wouldn’t allow her to keep it. Brown took a photo of the dog and sent it to rescue groups, telling the woman that if a rescue group did not accept the dog, she would not have space for him until next week. She said the shelter is required to keep some kennels open for the animal control officer.
Slone praised the support the shelter receives from the community.
“It is important for the community to get involved because we feel it’s everybody’s shelter,” Slone said. “And a county without an animal shelter ... Support your shelter because a county without an animal shelter is bad. There’s no where for the animals to go.”
Brittany Hale of Wildfire Designs created a T-shirt for the animal shelter fundraiser, with a Price is Right theme, encouraging people to spay and neuter their pets. Hale said 100 percent of the profit from the sale of those t-shirts will be donated to the animal shelter for this project.
“The community keeps my business alive, so I like to give back to organizations that support the community,” said Hale.
Slone hopes the new animal shelter will increase adoptions in Floyd County.
“It would be a better facility. The building there now is over 40-some years old and it really wasn’t laid out right to begin with,” she said. “It’s just that we kept working with it and making it, trying to make it better, but it is already crowded space ... It’s hard for people to look at the animals. The way we’re hoping to design it, will alleviate some of that because you’ll have stuff in the middle to block them (dogs) from seeing each other. You’ll have, hopefully, the kennels will be safer — just a nicer, cleaner, safer, friendlier, just a better for the animals coming in, while they’re there and just giving them a better place to be until they do go on to their forever home. Just, we’re trying to make it better. More people friendly, more pet friendly.”
Donations may be mailed to: Dewey Dam Dog & Cat Protection Society, P.O. Box 1502, Prestonsburg, Ky. 41653.
Donations may be made online at the animal shelter’s Facebook page, which links the shelter’s PalPal link, paypal.me/DDDCPS, or through this link: https://bit.ly/2tDfnr6.