Chamber of Commerce meets at Lee’s Paws and Claws Animal Shelter

Yesterday Lee’s Paws and Claws Animal Shelter served not only as a shelter, but also as a meeting place for the Chamber of Commerce and visitors. Attendees explored the clean, bright facility, which according to Interim Director Ann Gillmore-Hoffman, has been recommended by the state as an exemplary facility.


Gillmore-Hoffman walked visitors through the unique design of the shelter and how it better meets the needs of the animals it houses. The doors on the dog runs, which were designed by Steve Kibble, are designed similarly to hog feeders, Gillmore-Hoffman explained. These doors allow free-will access to the outdoors while remaining durable. “There is really nothing on them that the animals can get to to chew on. They are air-tight. I really think Steve should patent [the design]” said Gillmore-Hoffman. She said the doors are so easy to open that even the smallest puppy can get in and out freely.


Though the shelter has up to 20 acres of area to expand, the existing building is often filled to capacity. Gillmore-Hoffman said, “There are good and bad points to being a no-kill shelter. If we’re full, we’re full” and cannot take in any more animals. However, the shelter has saved many lives in its one year of operation. Lee’s Paws and Claws has taken in 200 animals and adopted out over 130 thus far.

Gillmore-Hoffman also thanked those who had given to support the shelter, including the Lupe family of La Hacienda for hosting “Shelter Night” every Tuesday night, from which a portion of the proceeds goes to support Lee’s Paws and Claws. Gillmore-Hoffman reported that in the past 6 months, La Hacienda had raised $1,800 for the shelter.

Another business organization Gillmore-Hoffman thanked was Shepherd Team Auto Plaza for hosting Adoption Day on the first weekend of every month.

An additional organization that has donated time and skills to the shelter is the Bourbon County Arts Council. The beautiful mural that has been started by the council will serve as a record of donors who have given $1,000 or more to Lee’s Paws and Claws. For each donation of this amount, the donors’ names will be added to a leaf on the tree in the mural.

In other news, Brian Holt of Union State Bank announced that the former Zambian ambassador to the United States, Sheila Siwela, is looking into the process to purchase a building in downtown Fort Scott to house her business operations.

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