By Conrad Dudderar
I have attended three City of Yukon meetings over the past few weeks to see Pets & People’s request for a new rescue facility move through the approval process.
First, the Yukon Planning Commission recommended approval of a conditional use permit to allow our local animal humane society to build its own rescue site on Inla (north of Main Street).
Then on Monday night, the Yukon Board of Adjustment approved a variance request to allow Pet & People to build the new building on a three-acre site west of the current animal control facility. A portion of the dog park will be used.
Finally on Tuesday night, the Yukon City Council gave the final go-ahead – around the same time Pets & People board approved its final plans. Dirt work will start in about 30 days and a ground-breaking will follow.
The proposed 4,700 square foot Pets & People rescue center has taken many months of planning and negotiation among humane society leaders and city officials.
With the City of Yukon constructing a new animal control shelter, it was time for Pets & People to “go out on its own” with a building it owns and operates independently of the city. Since 1998, Pets & People and Yukon Animal Control have shared space inside a building at 701 Inla. This has presented challenges and the relationship has been strained at times.
Overcrowding issues have plagued Pets & People for years, to the frustration of some city leaders, but the organization’s new leadership this year has made concerted efforts to reduce population numbers in anticipation of the move.
A capital campaign has been launched to raise the estimated $500,000 needed to build the rescue facility. Some grants have been pledged but many private donations are needed to cover the cost.
Dogs and cats will be housed in the new building and there will be no outside housing, cages or pens. The facility will be used to offer rescued pets for adoption.
Since Pets & People began in the early 1990s, this no-kill animal humane society has saved the lives of 55,000-plus animals.
Pets & People’s board, on which I am proud to serve, is committed to a bright future and positive relationship with the City of Yukon. This year’s leadership by board President Denna Smith and Vice President Amy Young has positioned Pets & People to much better serve our community of animal lovers.
The board is indebted to Fenton Ramey and Pete and Sheila Dahl, who own land adjacent to the future rescue site, for granting easements to the property. Without their cooperation, this would not have been possible.
Fenton Ramey, a legendary Yukon attorney and former district judge, recently was honored for 60 years of service to the legal profession.
His younger brother George, also an attorney and longtime Yukon municipal judge, got his moment in the spotlight during a Friday afternoon ceremony at the Canadian County Courthouse.
George Ramey was celebrated by the Canadian County Bar Association for his 50 years of membership in the Oklahoma Bar Association. He has been Yukon municipal judge for decades.
George appeared in the first photo I ever took after I joined the Yukon Review as a 30-hour-per-week staff reporter in May 1991. In that photo, he was administering the oath of office to newly elected Yukon City Council Member Anton Yanda III.
Anton’s widow, Donna Yanda, is up for re-election next year to her city council seat. Donna is now vice mayor and may be in line to be mayor if she decides to seek another term since current Mayor Mike McEachern is term-limited after April.
Independence Elementary School (where Amy Young ably serves as head principal) will host a special Veterans Day program next Monday morning, Nov. 11 in the gym. Many schools host Veterans Day assemblies, but IES will have a truly special guest – U.S. military veteran and State House District 43 Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon.
Speaking of Pets & People, the humane society’s annual charity auction is 7 pm. next Saturday, Nov. 16 at 10 West Main Events. This is the 19th year for the auction and the goal is to raise $40,000.
I will be volunteering alongside my good friend Peggy Nichols. Come by, bid on some great prizes and enjoy a fun evening to help homeless animals. (You’ll read more about the event in next Wednesday’s edition of your Yukon Progress)