By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
With construction of a new Yukon animal control shelter progressing ahead of schedule, Pets & People Humane Society should break ground early this fall on its new rescue center.
City officials had estimated the new animal shelter would be finished by the end of December, but it may open weeks earlier.
“We have a contract in place to be the City of Yukon’s ‘rescue partner’,” said Amy Young, vice president of Pets & People’s board of directors. “We will use the city’s new state-of-the-art shelter to coordinate adoptions.”
Pets & People and Yukon animal control have shared space inside the existing shelter at 701 Inla since it opened in 1998.
Yukon’s current shelter will be demolished after the new building is finished.
In the new City of Yukon shelter, Pets & People’s only responsibility will be adoptions; finding loving, “forever” homes for homeless cats and dogs.
While the city shelter will be a state-of-the-art facility, capacity will be considerably less for the humane society.
With limited space in the new shelter to house Pets & People animals awaiting placement, the organization is focused on reducing population and moving forward with plans for its own rescue building.
“We have an opportunity to really fill a need, especially in Canadian County, because of the number of homeless pets,” Young said. “Having our own rescue site is a fantastic way to fill that need.”
The 4,300-square foot Pets & People rescue center will be built west of the city’s animal shelter on Inla.
“We will utilize part of the dog park area because we already own that property,” Young said. “The dog park is not closing and will still be available to our members.
“We have been in the development stages since March, working directly with the City of Yukon for zoning and permitting.”
Building and site plans have been drawn up and a September ground-breaking is anticipated. Completion is projected in February 2020.
The new Pets & People center will serve a valuable purpose after dogs and cats are rescued.
“We can work on behavior modification, quarantining, vetting, and rehabbing (animals) before they move into the new city shelter,” Young said.
“We will continue to rescue dogs and cats from Yukon intake and determine their adoptability. Pets & People will have the financial responsibility of micro-chipping, spaying and neutering and vaccinating.”
Meanwhile, Pets & People is expected to launch a “Raise the Woof” capital campaign in August for the rescue center project.
“Our goal is to raise $500,000,” Young said. “We want to build it with no debt.”
55,000 AND COUNTING
Pets & People, a no-kill animal humane society, has rescued 55,000 cats and dogs since it started in 1993.
“We rescue animals from other municipalities on the day they’re to be euthanized,” Young said.
The organization adopts out pets to loving “forever” homes and finds foster homes for animals awaiting adoption.
Pets & People strives to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats by educating the public on responsible ownership.
To reduce population at the current shelter, Pets & People plans adoption days this summer including a special “Benchwarmer” adoption event July 13. More details will be announced at a later date.
“This will be for some of our ‘long-term’ dogs who just need a chance,” Young said.
“Through no fault of their own, they have not been adopted or they may have been adopted and returned. It could be because they need to be in a one-dog home, or a home with no children or a home with a six-foot sturdy fence.”
Pets & People also looks to find loving homes for some fabulous felines now taking up residence at the shelter.
“We’re still running a $40 cat special and we have a good number that would make excellent barn cats,” Young said.