The local animal shelter is seeking a new facility and selling the old one located southeast of Fort Scott.
The following is an interview with Treasurer Kathy Dancer and Corresponding Secretary Kate Sweetser, two members of the board of directors of Lee’s Paw and Claws Animal Shelter:
Why the move?
“The current shelter, which was built and then expanded thanks to a generous gift from Lee Weast, is fantastic but has presented two challenges.
One is that fundraising has not provided the income required to run a 4,000 square foot facility.
The other is that the location on a gravel road seven miles from town has made it harder to attract both volunteers and potential adopters.”
“Lee’s Paws and Claws Animal Shelter is owned and operated by the Shirley Yeager Animal Friends Foundation. The foundation’s board of directors has made the decision to transition to a more sustainable business model.”
“Part of this transition involves rightsizing to a smaller, more affordable facility located in the city. Our organization relies on adopters, volunteers, and donors. Being located in Fort Scott will help meet the needs of the humans involved. ”
“Another key part of the transition to a sustainable business model is the implementation of a foster care program for dogs. Dogs who have been in foster care are better socialized and therefore more easily adopted.
Our goal is to have a smaller facility that will serve as a cat shelter, an office, and an intake and adoption area.”
Who made the decision?
“The time and expense associated with maintaining our current facility has been an issue for several years. The current executive board has been exploring options for about a year now. The first decision to offer the current facility for sale was made a few months ago and the board agreed unanimously to sell the current building and acreage.
The second decision was to transition to a foster model and relocate closer to town while the current facility is on the market. Some board members wanted to stay at our current location until it sells and others wanted to transition as soon as possible. The decision was a difficult one and involved lengthy discussions and number-crunching, but in November of 2018, the board voted to begin the downsizing process and transition to a foster program in early 2019.”
“The current executive board consists of Randy Shannon, chair; Matt Messer, vice-chair; Kathy Dancer, treasurer; Rhonda Dunn, recording secretary; and Kate Emmett-Sweetser, corresponding secretary. The general board of directors includes the executive board members as well as Marianne Crane, Barb Ritter, and Rob Shaw. Ann Gillmore-Hoffman is board member emeritus.”
Where is the current facility located?
“We are currently located at 721 240thStreet, between Fort Scott and Garland. The 4,000 square foot facility (which is for sale) is situated on 19.8 acres which includes a pond and a tornado shelter. “
What are you looking for in town?
“We are looking for 1000-1500 square feet which could house an office, intake room, adoption area, and a few cat suites. We want a location which is affordable to maintain and easy for volunteers and potential adopters to access. We have a few potential rental and purchase options which we will discuss at our next executive board session.”
Tell about the animal foster program.
“Our goal is to develop a network of foster homes for dogs waiting for adoption. A foster home is a better temporary situation for dogs than a shelter because the animals live in a home where they receive more attention and are socialized with family members, both humans and other pets.
The state requires that we inspect and license all animal foster homes, so the process can take several weeks. Once a foster home is approved, they are licensed for a year. When placing a dog in foster care, our organization will have the dog spayed or neutered and vaccinated. The foster family will provide for the daily needs of the dog and coordinate with shelter personnel to give potential adopters opportunities to meet the foster dog. We plan to host adoption events on a regular basis at our new location. Foster applications are available on our website at www.LeesPawsAndClawsShelter.org/fostering.html.”