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Group wants to build new animal shelter

By Staff | Oct 14, 2018

Kiera Erickson, adoption coordinator for the Faribault County Humane Society, shows one of Faribault County's lost pets. This dog was found in the Elmore area, and if he isn't claimed in 10 days, will be put up for adoption.

The Faribault County Humane Society (FCHS) has come so far, but still has so far to go in trying to obtain funds for a new animal shelter.

The local Humane Society, located next to the Blue Earth waste water treatment facility, is a nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers and has been in operation since 2011.

Over the past year, the no-kill Faribault County?Humane Society animal shelter and pound has been working hard at creating a comfortable area for lost or stray animals that come into the shelter.

The shelter building, itself, is owned by the city of Blue Earth, who also pays utilities for the building. However, it is overseen by a joint commissions board and run entirely by volunteer members, like Debbie and Jim Johnson, Kiera Erickson, Caitlin Abbas, Brittany McClain, Bonnie White and Paula Rosenau, who have been giving their time to caring for these animals while keeping the shelter a safe place and creating fundraising events across Faribault County year-round in order to raise funds for a new animal shelter.

“We are continuously working to raise funds for a better shelter,” says Erickson, FCHS’s adoption coordinator. “The support from the community over the last year has been wonderful from collecting supplies for the animals to putting onfundraisers themselves, to donating money towards our cause. It’s the growing support that is helping our dream of a new shelter become more realistic.”

FCHS is responsible for about 100 pet adoptions a year, and they are almost to the 1,000 pet adoption mark since their beginning in 2011, with adoption numbers constantly increasing.

Currently, their shelter can only house four dogs and six cats, which is just a fraction of the animals that need shelter in Faribault County.

Erickson says they are in the midst of making baseline blueprints for their new shelter to bring forward to the Blue Earth City Council.

“The big things that we want our new shelter to include are separate rooms for cats and dogs, which will make caring for and showing the animals for adoption safer and easier,” says Erickson. “We would also like a separate room for individuals to play with cats and dogs, whether they be volunteers, foster pet families, or potential adopters. We also currently do not have hot water, which would be a nice feature to have in the future. Another thing we would love to have are windows all of the animals love looking out of windows, but we only have one and the door window. We also don’t have any ventilation, so windows would be great to let fresh air in.”

FCHS is also hoping to have new signage in order to make the shelter easier to find from the roadway, and look like more of an official entity of the county. They are also looking for additional storage to store food and pet supplies.

“We get a lot of food supplies from Walmart in Fairmont,” says Debbie Johnson. “Any damaged pet foot they have, we get and we are very grateful for that. But since we don’t have room to store it in our shelter, it’s kept outside, which leaves our most important supplies out in the elements.”

Erickson says the Humane Society is still a few years away from their monetary goal for the new shelter, but support of FCHS’s fundraisers and the ongoing grant application process keeps the team and volunteers hopeful.

Some of the fundraisers the FCHS has hosted are the Mother/Son Dance in Frost this past winter, Crazy Dog Daze dog walk, and a Derby car fundraiser put on by Tammy and Dusty Anderson. In total for those three major fundraisers, the shelter raised $4,260.

“Every bit helps us reach our goal for the shelter. We also receive so many donations from community businesses like Becki Steier Studio, Dollar General, American Family Insurance, Cedar Inn, and many others,” says Erickson. “We also receive a lot of memorial donations from families who have loved ones who passed with dollars alloted to our shelter. We are very grateful for all of the donations we receive, either monetarily, or through pet supplies.”

Erickson says the shelter hopes to create donation boxes soon, which will be distributed to area businesses, making it easier for community members to donate to the Humane Society.

The shelter is also responsible for helping lost pet owners find their missing pets.

“Our local animal control officer pick up dogs and bring them to us in hopes of finding their owners,” says Erickson. “If people see stray dogs, they should call the sheriff’s department and they will send the animal control officer out to catch the dog. They are not hired or expected to catch cats, but do so in special circumstances.”

The city charges an animal control officer fee for catching dogs and also pays the ACO for his time.

When a pet is surrendered, there is no cost, but when an impounded comes in, the cost is approximately $20 per day for dogs, and $5 a day for cats while they wait for their owners. The stray animals stay a maximum of 10 days. If those animals are not claimed after 10 days, they become eligible for adoption, and volunteers take them to the vet for examination and vaccinations.

“We only hope that those stray animals have families that are out there looking for them,” says Johnson. “Some of the animals we see are so malnourished, with matted hair, and need a lot of care before they can be adopted.”

When the shelter cannot find owners, the FCHS looks for foster families for pets, of which there are currently zero.

“All you have to do to foster a pet is to fill out an application. We provide food, any veterinary care, and we also spay and neuter all of our animals,” says Johnson. “We would love to have foster homes for these sweet animals while they wait to be adopted.”

“We think fostering a pet, or even taking time to volunteer to help feed and walk our animals is a great opportunity for our seniors in the area,” says Jim Johnson. “Our city may help pay for the cost of running our shelter, but they cannot provide the love and attention these animals deserve.”

Jim Johnson is the handyman of the shelter. He has lined the building with new walls so the current wood will not rot from moisture, he has also put up fencing, built the kennels, and has helped maintain the shelter’s new (gently used) washer and dryer.

“We need a better facility,” says Jim. “We have done what we could with what we have, but our need is greater than what we can provide. We need help.”

Another great way to help the FCHS is to like and follow their Facebook page. Many lost animals are posted on their page, and adoption information is always available.

“Plus, you get to see how cute these critters really are,” says Erickson. “They deserve a good, loving home, like all pets. The more people know, the better we work.”

“We just want to do this right, and we want to provide the community with a safe and nurturing environment when their animals end up in our care, whether they are brought in by Animal Control or surrendered to the Humane Society,” says Erickson. “The mission is to rescue, the dream is that one day we won’t have to.”

For more information on how to donate your time, funds, or supplies to the Faribault County Humane Society, go to www.fchs-mn.org.