On April 1, a three-month training period ended and Delta County Citizens for Animal Welfare and Shelter (CAWS) officially took over management of the City of Delta animal shelter.
"I am proud of what CAWS has accomplished in nine weeks," said JoAnn Kalanek, the volunteer shelter director.
Since the beginning of the year, CAWS has held a series of Saturday open houses to recruit volunteers to assist with shelter operations. Not only was volunteer recruitment successful, CAWS was also able to adopt out nine animals, including a wire-haired terrier whose leg was broken in a car accident. "We saved that leg and that dog," Kalanek said, as well as the expense of veterinary care for the city.
During the transition period about 30 volunteer applications were reviewed. That number was whittled down to eight core volunteers, many of whom are CAWS board members, who will have keys to the shelter. Some volunteers want to do a simple task once a week or once a day, and that's fine, Kalanek said. The core group will assume the responsibility of ensuring the shelter is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The rest of the volunteers were divided into teams which will be headed by one of the core volunteers. The teams focus on adoption, fund-raising events, administration, shelter operations and special projects. Each team leader is also a member of the management team, said Kalanek, as she outlined the organizational structure at a recent city council work session.
While the shelter operation relies heavily on volunteers, there is one paid staff
member. Teresa Kallsen, animal shelter technician, ceased being a city employee on April 1 and is now on CAWS' staff.
Animal control officer Ryla Pavlisick continues in the city's employ, responding to animal-related complaints and enforcing the municipal regulations that pertain to animals.
At the shelter, six of the kennels are set aside for the city's use, with the city paying CAWS $12 a day to board the impounded/quarantined animals. Any fines the city collects from the animal's owner will be retained by the city to offset that cost.
The other six kennels house animals available for adoption through CAWS. Some may be dogs or cats that were initially impounded by the city, but never reclaimed by their owners.
In taking over operation of the shelter at 640 West 4th Street, CAWS assumed annual operating costs of $39,650. At the council work session, Alison LePage, development director, outlined CAWS' efforts to obtain grants to help cover those operating costs. To date, CAWS as a whole has already received $7,154 in community donations and $9,000 in grant funds, including one grant for $8,000. "We are well over halfway to our grant goal of $14,000," LePage said.
A couple of fundraisers are in the works. The first is "Sponsor a Kennel," through which area residents can buy comfortable beds and sturdy toys for the dogs awaiting adoption. The second is "Strut Your Mutt," a dog walk-a-thon to be held May 5 in conjunction with a grand opening celebration at the animal shelter. Information on both fundraisers, a volunteer application and details about CAWS can be found at CAWSonline.org.
Mayor Mary Cooper said it sounded like the transition is going smoothly. Police Chief Robert Thomas, who spent months working out the agreement with CAWS, said he couldn't agree more.
Kalanek promised to return to give an update in a couple of months.blog comments powered by Disqus