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New Lincoln County Animal Shelter Set to Open This Fall
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Monday, August 29, 2022
 

BY KARMA M. FITZGERALD

 When a stray dog is reported in Lincoln County these days, deputies avoid picking it up. They’ll respond to the call and try to find an owner. But if they can’t find the owner, they don’t have many options.

The current animal holding facility is “basically a metal box in the desert,” said Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Allen. This time of year, with temperatures often over 100 degrees, Allen says it’s just not an option.

“It’s not an adequate facility,” he said.

Most of the time, police can find an owner, he said. When they can’t, they rely on local animal rescue volunteers to help.

That’s due to change this fall when a new Lincoln County Animal Shelter is set to open. Lincoln County Sheriff Rene King spearheaded the drive to build the shelter a few years ago. And, while efforts were slowed during the shelter-in-place order during the pandemic, enough donations have come in to allow construction to start.

The new facility sits within the county impound yard. It will feature power and running water and enough room to house seven dogs in kennels and a few cats in cat crates. It’s a 511-square foot building.

Fundraising efforts have earned $37,000 of the $50,000 needed to finish.

“Animals in Lincoln County need a safe place while waiting for their parents to claim them or new parents to adopt them,” King said.

King said the department averages about five stray dog calls a week. The department has occasionally transferred the dogs to shelters in other communities, but that becomes cost prohibitive. Dogs picked up within Shoshone city limits are held for 72 hours; dogs picked up within the county are held for five days.

“That’s really a minimum,” Allen said. “We try to find their owners but sometimes we’ll have a dog for three weeks and then we’ll have to find a new home.”

Allen uses Facebook photos and videos to ask for community help to find a dog’s owners or recruit a new one.

A dog owner himself, he says the work he and other deputies do for the dogs is part of upholding the law and protecting the animals.

When the sheriff’s deputies can’t find an owner or new home, they rely on A Road to Home, a Shoshone-based animal rescue service.  Susie Petersen is on the board of directors. She said her holding facility, housed in G and H Ace Hardware on South Rail in Shoshone, is often full.

“Every shelter and every rescue and every entity is overwhelmed,” Petersen said. She currently has 40 cats and 5 dogs at the hardware store. The animals that come to her are vaccinated immediately and given veterinary care if needed. Her rescue service is funded through donations.

Petersen doesn’t think the county’s new shelter will change her service much. It will just give deputies more options when a stray is picked up.

Lavonne Limpus moved to Shoshone a year ago and got involved with the fundraising drive for the new building.

“I’ve just always been in rescue, so it was a natural thing to do when I arrived,” she said.

 She said she’d never seen local elected officials get involved the way King and Lincoln County commissioners have been. Commissioner Joann Rutler said she witnessed two dogs getting hit in front of her house and it prompted her to get involved in the shelter project.

“Our current location is totally unacceptable for the animals and very inconvenient for our deputies to attend to the animals,” Rutler said. She said the county will assess fines for owners if the animal is picked up at large. That money will help offset costs in the new shelter.

There’s a Phase Two construction plan which will add a new section to the building for isolating violent or sick dogs, but that will cost another $15,000, King said.

Allen said he hopes more people will license their pets. While the county doesn’t currently have pet registration system, the city of Shoshone does. However, only 53 pets are currently tagged, according to city staff.

“We prefer people learn to control their animals and keep them safe instead of us having to put them in jail,” Rutler said. “Prevention is the key.”

Donations may be sent to Sheriff Rene King, 115 W A Street, Shoshone, ID 83352.

 Karma Metzler Fitzgerald is based in Shoshone. To reach her with story ideas or comments, email karmawrites@gmail.com

 


 

 

 

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