Faribault County Humane Society has a forever home | News, Sports, Jobs

The Faribault County Humane Society (FCHS) has been looking for a new facility for years. Finally, they found a suitable building, located in the West Blue Earth Industrial Park, top right. FCHS President Debby Johnson, pictured above, left, with volunteer Kiera Meyer, couldn’t be more excited about the impending relocation.

Providing temporary residence for local animals in need is what the Faribault County Humane Society (FCHS) does best.

However, while FCHS strives to find accommodation for its four-legged clients, the organization is also struggling to find suitable accommodation for itself.

FCHS President Debby Johnson is ready to share good news with the community: Like many of the organization’s animal friends, FCHS has finally found its forever home.

Currently, FCHS is parked in a small building adjacent to the Blue Earth wastewater treatment plant.

“Originally, it was the dog pound designed for short-term care”, Johnson explains. “Ten years ago the Faribault County Humane Society restarted and started taking care of the animals here again. “

According to Johnson, the tiny facility needed a lot of elbow grease to be suitable for the animals.

“The cages were reconstructed in wrought iron”, Johnson remembers. “There were only three kennels and the dogs slept on wooden platforms.”

Over the years, FCHS has purchased new non-porous panels for the walls, repainted the floor, and installed a barrier that serves to separate the dog area from the area where the cats are kept.

“There was no fence”, Johnson adds. She and a group of volunteers worked to put up a fence around the facility, which they considered vital for the well-being of canine guests and for the safety of members of the surrounding community.

“It made a difference. Now the dogs can play outside, and it’s safe when the kids at Blue Ridge Apartments play near the area ”,Johnson explains.

“I don’t know if a lot, or if anything was invested here until we got there”,she admits.

Despite the countless hours of work that FCHS volunteers have invested in their current location, the fact remains that its fundamental design presents challenges.

“It’s a disadvantage to have dogs and cats in the same room”Johnson notes.

The proximity of animals when grouped together in such a small area can be dangerous.

“When animals are so close, things (diseases) spread”Johnson said.

However, FCHS feels compelled to accept as many furry residents as it can accommodate.

“It’s a challenge to have to say that we are full when people bring animals”Johnson said.

FCHS tries to provide services as widely as possible in the county.

“We are a very good clearinghouse for finding lost animals through our Facebook page”Johnson notes.

According to Johnson, the FCHS Facebook page is fairly widely followed by the community and has become a hub for advertising missing and found pets in the area.

FCHS also locates and treats animals that are not fortunate enough to have owners.

“The county has not rehired an animal control officer,”says Kiera Meyer, FCHS volunteer. Due to the current absence of a designated official, FCHS volunteers often take on the task of tracking down stray animals in Faribault County.

“There is a big problem with stray cats all over the county”,Johnson explains. “There were a number of stray cats in Elmore. The citizens contact us to come and pick them up.

Johnson estimates Elmore’s number of stray cats to be between 50 and 100 felines.

Although Johnson and his fellow volunteers took on a huge workload, FCHS ‘high level of community involvement and growing visibility on Facebook provided a silver lining.

“People realized that the animals that get lost or run away could be theirs”Meyer said. “They saw in what condition their animals could be kept. “

A need that FCHS was aware of for a long time has become more and more visible to the whole community.

FCHS, campaigned hard to make their relocation dreams come true.

Johnson recalls first reaching out to the Faribault County Joint Powers Animal Control Board in 2019 to assert his growing need for a new facility. At this point, a construction committee for this purpose was formed.

“It was a big step forward”Johnson said.

Meanwhile, FCHS has been working hard to raise funds for a new location.

“We got very involved in the community”,Meyer said. “We started to advertise the shelter and we were able to grow because of it. “

“A guy, when he saw the installation, started sending us $ 25 a month. He’s been doing this for four years.Johnson shares.

Thanks to a wide variety of donations like this, as well as a major fundraiser, FCHS was able to set aside $ 100,000 for the project.

It was only recently that FCHS discovered a place where funds could be directed.

The search for a new building had not been easy, given the many requirements necessary for a building to be able to house so many animals.

“All of a sudden the stars started to align”,Johnson remembers.

“Someone suggested to us that Steve Gesche would be ready to sell Papa D’s old building”Johnson said. “He showed us the building, and two weeks later he said he would sell it to us.

FCHS currently has a verbal agreement with Gesche, but hopes to have the documents completed by the end of this year.

FCHS looks forward to digging into their new center and completing the necessary renovations that will make it the center of their dreams.

“We have an idea of ​​how we want the interior to unfold”Johnson explains. The renovations will include fencing along the exterior of the building, cement work, installation of a new drain and dog doors.

FCHS also plans to divide the cavernous main hall of the building into several separate areas by installing a few walls.

“It will cost at least $ 50,000 for the remodeling”Johnson believes.

Meyer adds, “Once we have a better idea of ​​the cost of the renovation, we can share it with the community and start fundraising. “

However, as Johnson presents the new space, the future of FCHS looks bright.

“It is large enough to meet our needs and allow future growth”Johnson notes.

She adds, “Some of the workers in surrounding industries may be willing to help FCHS during their lunch break or after work. “

FCHS has been a thriving center of volunteer opportunities for many years.

“We have a very good group of volunteers”,Johnson said.

“We offer many volunteer opportunities for families and children”,Meyer adds. “We took religious groups and small groups out of the school. A larger facility would allow for more volunteer opportunities.

FCHS hopes to welcome many more volunteers from the community in the future.

“We can always use volunteers, even just to come and play with the animals”,Johnson said.

FCHS will also welcome donations as they prepare for this huge transition.

“Now is the time to make our dream come true. “Johnson shares. “We hope people will support us with their year-end donations.”

“I believe that if people knew what the conditions are, they would support us”,She adds.

“We are making a difference,”Johnson concludes. “A lot of people want to save animals, but don’t know where to go. “

“We offer very good service to the community”Meyer agrees.

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Jennifer R. Strohm