JACKSON COUNTY – Jackson County is in great need of a new, upgraded animal shelter to handle the volume of abandoned and homeless animals it deals with on a daily basis.

“The current shelter was built in 1977, and takes in over 700 animals each year, including dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats, ferrets and more. We currently have 13 kennels in the main building and three outside pens. We typically have dogs in the lobby and cat quarantine room,” said County Humane Officer Rachel Rhodes.

Efforts are underway to raise funds to see the dream of a news shelter come to fruition. The Community Foundation of Jackson County is taking a leading role, along with the Jackson County Commission, but community support is imperative.

“The push for a new animal shelter began through the Jackson County Community Foundation when Columbus (OH) Zoo animal expert Jack Hanna visited the county as the guest celebrity and made a personal contribution to help push the project forward,” explained Jackson County Commission President Dick Waybright. “The Commission set aside $50,000 for a $50,000 fund raising match to seed the project fund. We are really in need of a new shelter. The current one is old and too small for the volume of animals that go through the current site at the County Farm.

“The project is estimated to cost $750,000 to $1 million and will be built up the hill from the current shelter. We’re hoping to get the floor poured with conduit, etc. after the Junior Fair this year. We’re looking at constructing a 50 x 100 building with various stations inside. Eric Denemark hs been working toward getting the most for the money and we’ve also been discussing getting help from vo-tech students on the project. 

We’re looking to gert sponsors for different stations inside the new shelter, and looking at raising funds through brick sales and other avenues. We need public contributions to augment the county funding which cannot pay for the entire project.”

The upcoming Furry Fest on June 1 at Cedar Lakes is another important step on the road to seeing the new  animal shelter become a reality.  

“We are excited to be a part of this innovative public/corporate/non-profit partnership that will use earmarked County Commission funds, along with moneys from private and corporate donors,” said Christy Crowell, Executive Director, JCCF, Inc. “Finding a way to replace the current shelter has been a priority for several years, and the Furry Fest that all of our county animal groups are working on together would provide a path forward.”

“This journey began several years ago when it became clear that the 40-plus year old current facility, run by our amazing friends at the Jackson County Commission and the Animal Shelter Volunteers, had long outlived its productive life,” said Crowell. “A group of heartfelt animal welfare folks gather together in a board room at the Community Foundation of Jackson County frequently. In this room, we together are committed to solve a problem and to fill a need. In this case, that need is to dramatically improve animal welfare in our great county. Eric Denemark has spent countless hours producing and changing the shelter plans. He also has priced and negotiated pricing on most all of the materials needed. We are so very thankful to have him involved. We are very close to getting our plans approved to break ground. I encourage the community to take a look at the area staked out at the County Farm, soon the landscape will change as we erect the new shelter.”

Plans for the new modern shelter include improved adoption areas and other upgrades that will allow for better care and treatment of pets. The new shelter will also incorporate amenities that will provide a safer and cleaner environment for the shelter staff and volunteers. Safety, efficiency and environmentally friendly are of top priority.

Furry Fest is a fundraiser established by the Animal Welfare Committee in 2017 to raise funds and awareness of the new Jackson County Animal Shelter project. The Animal Welfare Committee holds a fund with JCCF, Inc. which is set to be used in the building and future operations of the new Jackson County Animal Shelter.

The Furry Fest will be held on June 1, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Cedar Lakes- Assembly Hall. Tickets will be $20 for Adults and $10 for Children. We will be listing our entertainment and amusement in future Jackson Newspaper articles/Facebook. A special thank you to Party Time DJ Services and Fairplain Yacht Club for your support of this event!

The Animal Welfare Committee is selling Kennel Sponsorships for $1,000. Kennel sponsors hold a special place in our hearts. They will receive their name or pets name on a plaque in the new animal shelter above their sponsored kennel. Kennel sponsors will be recognized on our T-shirts, event signage, newspaper, radio and social media advertisements.

Any donation amount is greatly appreciated. We will be selling other naming opportunities in the near future so please watch Jackson Newspapers for these opportunities and for the progress of the new Jackson County Animal Shelter.

Donations of any amount are tax deductible and are acknowledged by the Community Foundation. Please contact the Foundation office for more information 304-372-4500.

“ARF members have learned a lot in the nearly seven years that we have been helping to rescue pets in Jackson County!  We were determined to do what we could to save companion animals, but we had no idea what a daunting and unending task it would be!” said Bobbie Chancey of ARF (Animal Rights Fur-Ever).

“The staff at the animal shelter works very hard with the small facility that they have to take in as many animals as they can safely house.  At any given time they may have pets in the lobby, the bathroom, or the laundry room and donkeys, pigs, goats, or other livestock outside. (There are pigs there today!) The shelter has only 13 runs, but dogs that get along are put together and in warm weather a couple of outside kennels help out, too. Yet there is only so much space, and there is a waiting list of pets to come to the shelter when there is space.”.

“A new shelter would not only give more space to be able to house more pets, but it would be space carefully planned to be safer for both people and pets,” Chancey continued. “Plans include a quarantine area for pets showing signs of illness; larger kennels for bigger dogs; mommas with puppies, or injured pets; eye wash stations for staff; meeting rooms for both cats and dogs,  and space for the public to view available pets.  The goal is practical, functional use of space.  Kennels having outside runs, for example, not only gives the dogs needed exercise, but the dogs can be moved when the staff is cleaning.  This keeps the animal out of the powerful chemicals that must be used to disinfect the areas and gives the staff a safety measure with a dog that is not especially friendly.  A cattery will help keep the cats stimulated and give them fresh air, too.

“It is exciting to see the dream of a new animal shelter becoming a reality.  And the residents of Jackson County will be able to help!  Through sponsorship, a beloved pet can be memorialized, student groups can earn funds to provide kennels or equipment, and local businesses can provide goods or services.  I hope everyone will want to be a part of this important project!  Together we can build a facility to be proud of in Jackson County and make the lives of orphan pets much better!

“If anyone wins the lottery in the near future, I hope they will remember the new animal shelter!,” said Chancey.