Rifle Animal Shelter to break ground Friday for new facility
Trying to control the spread of infectious diseases like ringworm and upper respiratory infection can be a challenge in an animal shelter that’s about 1,200 square feet.
Soon, however, that should all change for the Rifle Animal Shelter, a nonprofit operation since 2012, animal shelter director of development Kalli Wilson said. The shelter will host a virtual groundbreaking event Friday for their upcoming 8,000 square-foot facility, which should expand their amenities by 25%.
It will also take on a new name: Journey Home Animal Care Facility.
“If anyone has seen our current facility, it’s kind of a no brainer that we definitely needed to have this happen,” Wilson said. “So, we’re very excited.”
Preliminary plans for a new facility began in 2017, after the shelter continued to encounter problems in infrastructure.
“A lot of the kennel banks are really starting to rust and fall apart,” Wilson said. “And we’re a growing staff, too. We’re trying to expand our resources for not only the animals that we take in and care for, but for the community as well.”
“As we grow, we want to grow the number of animals we can bring in, so it’s hard for us to house more animals, or house more staff because we are completely running out of space,” she added.
On average, the Rifle Animal Shelter provides care for about 1,500 animals per year. After taking in an animal, care includes vaccinations, microchipping, spaying/neutering and, finally, putting the critters up for adoption.
The process takes about $125 to $200 per animal, Wilson said.
Right now, the animal shelter is equipped with 12 large and 10 small kennel banks as well as two trailers being used as an administrative office and veterinarian clinic. Once the new $1.9 million facility is fully operational, Wilson said it will include separate laundry and quarantine rooms, administrative offices and a full vet clinic, among other amenities.
In addition, felines will have new and improved quarters.
“Where the cats are right now at our current shelter, it’s a very stressful environment,” Wilson said. “The dogs are right there, they’re barking all the time and there’s no light coming in. So it’s really hard on the cats.”
Wilson said euthanasia will continue at the new place. However, animals are only put down under extreme circumstances, including if they’re sick, if there’s no recovery plan to get releases or if they’re a threat to the general public.
“Yes, there will be (euthanasia) but not without heavy policy,” Wilson said.
Funding for the new facility was provided through a $600,000 grant though Garfield County, private donations as well as various allocations from Parachute, Rifle, Silt and New Castle, Wilson said.
“Rifle Animal Shelter continuously strives to be a resource center in our community. This new, more functional facility will provide us the opportunity to serve the great community that surrounds and supports our organization,” executive director Heather Grant said in a news release. “Rifle Animal Shelter is honored to have received such tremendous community support to make this new facility a reality.”
Wilson said she can’t wait for the new facility to open, which will be just down the street near the current facility on County Road 265.
“To me, I’m just really looking forward to being able to further connect with the community,” she said. “These animals are going to receive an even better level of care than they received here at the shelter now. And to me, that’s the most important thing going into this project.”
The virtual groundbreaking ceremony is slated for noon-1 p.m. Feb. 5. The link to join the virtual ceremony can be found through Rifle Animal Shelter’s email list as well as on their Facebook page in the event page.
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