Pets have a place to call home and a future to look forward to.
Vicky Nelson Dede Pugh, a Kootenai Humane Society volunteer, spends time with Susie, a one-year-old mixed breed dog.
HAYDEN — The Kootenai Humane Society's executive directorship comes with a lot of responsibility.
However, aiding during the amputation of an injured cat's leg appears to be above and above the call of duty. Debbie Jeffrey commented, Today I was a vet tech.
Jeffrey, who is in her eleventh year as executive director of KHS, which has an annual budget of around $1.2 million, knows the objectives and needs of the organization better than anyone.
A new shelter under construction on Atlas Road, which is anticipated to be finished before the end of the year, is at the top of the priority list for a game changer.
For 15 years, people have been hearing about a new refuge. During a phone interview with The Press, she stated, It's finally going to be here. It's no longer a conversation. It's the truth.
The new shelter, which will cost more than $5 million to construct, will be more than 20,000 square feet in size. For dogs, cats, and any other animals that wind up in the shelter, it will provide more space, better lodgings, and a better health-care environment. That's a lot of information. Last year, KHS received 523 pets from owners, 610 stray animals, 608 rescues, and 233 animals from animal control. It also got 265 stray cats spayed or neutered.
Nearly 2,000 animals have passed through its gates. Many of them were returned to their rightful owners.
There were 743 cat adoptions, 737 dog adoptions, 25 rabbit adoptions, 21 rodent adoptions, eight guinea pig adoptions, two reptile adoptions, two bird adoptions, and one ferret adoption.
The amount of animals who came to KHS for spay or neuter, vaccinations, and microchips, according to Jeffrey, is even more telling. There were 1,797 spay and neuter surgeries, 4,252 immunization clinic visits, and 525 microchips.
These are tremendous numbers, and they demonstrate the necessity for all of these animals, she said.
Surgical appointments are set till March. We're seeing an increase in demand, Jeffrey remarked.
The impact of COVID-19 on personnel has been one of the most significant challenges. Due to the virus, KHS, which employs roughly 15, frequently runs out of supplies. With so much to accomplish already, interrupting the flow makes things much more difficult and frustrating.
You can't run in this town on a shoestring, Jeffrey explained. Some have opposed the requirement that employees wear masks.
We're trying to protect the tiny team we have here, as well as their families, Jeffrey explained. If you're in my chair, you're doing everything you can to keep the staff safe.
She's hoping for a better year this year, and she's convinced that the new shelter will make a major difference, possibly leading to an increase in donations.
This could assist KHS in obtaining an X-ray machine as well as one for blood work.
To finish the shelter, the goal is to raise $8 million.
Compassion, according to Jeffrey, is a must-have trait for the executive director. How can you do this work if you don't care? she questioned. The majority of people in Kootenai County are, at least when it comes to animals. This is a place where people adore their pets, she remarked.
It's one of the things that keeps Jeffrey and her team going. She explained, That's why we do what we do. Up here, people like their pets, and it shows.