By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
With a new Yukon animal control facility due to open in January 2020, Pets and People Humane Society is moving ahead with plans to construct its own building as a rescue site.
Pets and People plans to have an adoption center in the city’s new facility but needs its own larger space to house animals in its care awaiting new homes.
After months of negotiations with city officials, Pets and People Humane Society has signed a contract with the city to continue their partnership.
The organization announced this week that its board vice-president has signed an agreement to continue the relationship with Yukon’s Animal Control. Pets and People will be Yukon’s primary rescue partner.
Yukon is currently building a new facility to house its Animal Control department as well as animals from Pets and People. The new Yukon facility is slated to open January 2020.
The new city facility will be next to the current building at 701 Inla. At the completion of the new shelter, the old shelter will be demolished.
Pets and People is looking to use the new Yukon facility as its adoption center.
“We are excited to partner with the City of Yukon,” said Amy Young, vice president of Pets and People Humane Society. “The new facility for the City of Yukon will definitely be a wonderful upgrade from the current one.”
“Pets and People’s goal is to build our own facility as our rescue site. We not only support the adoption of pets from the City of Yukon’s Animal Control, but we also rescue animals that are sometimes within hours of being euthanized in other towns that operate as kill shelters if the animal is not claimed or adopted.”
Yukon and Pets and People are working together to create a much better animal control operation, according to Yukon Mayor Mike McEachern.
“I’m grateful that we’ve finally arrived at an acceptable contract for managing the Pets and People/Yukon city relationship,” McEachern said. “It’s a big step forward in creating a much better environment in Yukon for the animals and the people involved in the humane activities that surround animal control.”
Pets and People wants its own facility to support newly rescued dogs and cats.
“Our rescue site will provide veterinary care, a better way to separate those receiving veterinary care, adoption rooms, and a place for our foster pets to be available to potential adopters,” Young said. “Currently, over 30 percent of our rescued dogs are in foster homes.”
Pets and People’s goal is to partner with the city and house its “ready to adopt” pets in the new City of Yukon facility and use the planned facility to rehab newly rescued animals.
“The dogs in our foster homes are ready to adopt because those animals are living with a family, interacting with children, and learning home manners,” Young said. “Those pets need a place to come up on the weekends so they are available for meet and greets. Our goal is to place homeless pets in the best ‘forever’ homes. A part of that process is ensuring that the dog or cat is a good fit the potential adopter’s lifestyle. We certainly learn a lot about a dog or cat when they are living in a foster home.”
Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby is encouraged with the direction Pets and People is headed.
“They’ve taken in so many animals and they’re getting control of the animals they’ve got,” Crosby said. “They’re going to need a building of their own to operate. They’re still going to work with the city and adopt some of their animals through us.
“Because of the sheer volume of animals they have, they’re going to have to build a separate building.”
City officials will work with Pets and People representatives as plans develop and possible locations are studied for a new rescue facility.
“They do an excellent job and having control of their own building will ease some of the problems and conflicts we’ve had in the past,” Crosby said.
USING PART OF DOG PARK FOR NEW RESCUE SITE?
Pets and People is exploring the possibility of using a piece of the current Pets and People dog park directly west of the current shelter.
“Our dog park was the first dog park in the state of Oklahoma,” Young said. “We are currently looking into using a part of the three-acre dog park as a build site for our rescue site. We are working with the City of Yukon on zoning and permit requirements.
“Through our partnership with the City of Yukon and a planned rescue site, Pets and People will better serve all of Canadian County as well as surrounding towns in western Oklahoma.”
If the dog park property is not deemed appropriate, Pets and People board members are open to suggestions of other land or space in Canadian County that could be donated.
Pets and People’s plans call for a 3,500 square-foot rescue site that will also include dog play yards and areas for volunteers to walk and interact with dogs.
There would be dedicated rooms for animal recovery and isolation in addition to separate rooms for adoption counseling, grooming, and food preparation. Pets and People hope to have their new rescue site open in tandem with the new Yukon facility.
In the past two years, members of the Pets and People board of directors have listened to Yukon citizens.
“The board has evolved substantially with new board members that bring a variety of skills to the organization,” Young said. “We are committed to providing animal rescue services above the required standards. We have updated our board of directors’ policies and updated our shelter practices.
“We also have worked with a nationally acclaimed rescue consultant for over 18 months and followed advice from Kirkpatrick Foundation. In addition, the board has retained RSM US for auditing services as well as financial practice guidance. We thank the citizens of Yukon and all of our adoptive families for their history of support and we look forward to many more years of service,” Young said.
‘A LIGHT TO HOMELESS PETS’
A non-profit organization incorporated in 1993, Pets and People has rescued more than 50,000 homeless dogs and cats and placed them in forever homes.
“We are very proud of our history of service to the community and to the homeless pet population in Yukon and surrounding areas,” Young said.
Pets and People plans to kick off a fund-raising campaign in the next few weeks. Donations can be made on their website, PetsandPeople.com using PayPal or credit card or may be mailed to Pets and People, P.O. Box 850587, Yukon, OK 73085.
“We are a light to homeless pets,” Young said. “We save the next one and the next one because every pet deserves a loving home.”
With Pets and People’s new building and updated adoption policies, Yukon’s city manager believes the organization is committed to resolving past issues with over-population at the animal shelter.
“I think it’s a great direction that Pets and People is going and they have some new leadership,” Crosby said. “There’s a clear understanding of the direction everybody’s going. It’s going to be an exciting time and they serve a great purpose.”
Mayor McEachern echoed the city manager’s sentiments.
“The relationship between the City of Yukon and Pets and People is productive and it’s moving forward,” he said. “I’m really glad that Pets and People has made a decision, in their own best interest, to create a separate facility that hopefully will work as well as some of the other shelters in the state.”