A new animal shelter remains a high priority for SOS Pets, the City and the entire community. Our current shelter, though made safe and homey by City Animal Control Officer Shellie McDowell, is inadequate. Our new shelter will be warm, bright and hopeful. It will have proper sanitation, HVAC, acoustic moderation and will meet all veterinary standards. A clean, safe, quiet, low-stress environment will encourage adoption and decrease disease; provide comfort, health, enrichment and hope for pets; be enjoyable for caregivers; attract local and visitor volunteers; promote community hope and pride and help rehabilitate animals.
For years, SOS Pets has been accepting donations for a new shelter. In 2014, the idea got a big boost from a short-lived but energetic group called Cause For Paws. They raised a ton of money by offering the popular "Fur Ball" for several years. We currently have around $40,000.
In 2018, the City got into the game with the creation of a $160,000 fund specifically targeted for a new shelter. The City also offered land and utilities for the effort - a huge advancement. The initial parcel on Dieckgraeff Road offered by the City was rejected by the Seward Planning and Zioning based on concerns from nearby residents. The second offering, near the schools (see below), passed unanimously through P and Z and then on September 24, 2018, the City Council also unanimously approved the parcel.
We have never been this close! SOS Pets has been advocating for a new shelter to replace the 35 year old "temporary" building for over 20 years. The community is 100% supportive and has proved it with hundreds of letters and emails and significant financial donations. The City administration and Council are 100% behind it and have proved by keeping the shelter on their City and legislative priority list despite pressure of limited funding sources and offering City land and utilities.
The next step is to contract an architect and engineering study that will create Seward's new animal shelter, at least on paper. After that we'll need to find money, but I am confident that, given such community support, we'll find it.