Thank you for being part of making the new animal adoption and humane education center a regional and national animal welfare resource for adoptions, education, donations, volunteer opportunities, and collaboration (while continuing comprehensive local services for Blaine County).
The Big Picture
In addition to replacing the old shelter with a new, modern shelter that will better protect the health and well-being of our pets, we are building an education and event center, indoor and outdoor training areas, a top-notch spay/neuter center, and more.
The new campus will be an amazing and happy hub for people to connect with each other and animals (whether they are looking to adopt or not) and attract people from all over the nation. This tremendous asset will be a fantastic addition to our community.
Total cost for this big vision will be approximately $16 million. This includes architecture, engineering, actual building costs, medical clinic equipment, all furniture and fixtures, landscaping, etc.
We have raised $15 million to date (94% of goal). Fundraising is still ongoing and critical to the project’s success. Multi-year pledges welcome through 2020.
We broke ground in June 2017. Construction is well underway, and we plan to occupy the new facility by the end of 2018.
Building square footage is approximately 30,000, which includes: an adoption center, cat colonies, dog housing, spay/neuter clinic, (with separate intake, isolation and recovery wards), indoor training area, classroom, and administration building.
The capacity of animals we can shelter at the new facility will approximately double from the current facility. Currently, the maximum capacity is 30 dogs and 30 cats. The new facility will be able to accommodate 51 dogs and 72 cats (plus 4 “other” small animals).
What makes this facility so much better than the old one?
Modern kennel design and materials will improve the health of the animals, decrease noise and stress, and prevent the spread of disease.
While the average number of on-site adoptable animals at any given time will significantly increase, our animals will be in spaces that are actually designed to house animals safely and humanely, making them healthier and more adoptable.
We will be able to dramatically expand our humane education efforts with the Education Barn, indoor play yard, Central Bark and outdoor areas. We will significantly increase the number of children who learn about compassion through interactions with animals. We expect more than 1400 humane education participants will join us at the new campus in 2019.
We will engage the community in ways we currently cannot, changing people’s perceptions of an animal shelter to a happy place where they want to come (whether they’re looking for a pet or not) through engaging public areas like the Cat Café, event spaces available to rent, walking trails, and more. We will expose more people than ever to our mission.
All of these amenities will not just result in our local community viewing Mountain Humane as a destination, but will also draw more visitors to the Wood River Valley. Currently, 30% of our animals are adopted to people from out of town – many of whom travel here specifically to adopt from us. They travel because of our reputation as a no-kill shelter and as a place where they can find a pet ready to go – spayed/neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped and often with basic obedience training. This will only increase with a new campus that is a model for humane animal care and community engagement, bringing additional vitality, diversity, and money to our local economy.
We will be able to provide the specialized care needed for senior, shy, and medically or behaviorally challenged animals.
Tell me more about "No-Kill Idaho 2025"!
In 1999, Mountain Humane became the first shelter in the state of Idaho to adopt no kill policies. While Blaine County has made great strides in animal welfare, much of Idaho still struggles. Many Idaho animal shelters are dealing with overpopulation and are forced to euthanize thousands of healthy, adoptable animals every year. We have the opportunity to make a huge difference!
More than 10,000 dogs and cats are still euthanized annually in Idaho, that we know of. This is a huge burden on the staff at these shelters and is a tragedy for the animals. No one wants euthanasia to be the solution for pet overpopulation, but not all shelters have the resources or circumstances that allow them to become no-kill.
We intend to leverage Mountain Humane’s expertise and resources to be a catalyst for the State of Idaho to decrease the number of healthy, adoptable animals euthanized in shelters by 100%. In other words, our goal is for Idaho to be a “no-kill” state by 2025, and we intend to help lead the way in this ambitious effort.
How will the new facility help raise the level of animal welfare in our region (and beyond)?
In our Education Barn, classroom, and other educational spaces, we will be able to offer workshops, classes, and other events that help staff at regional shelters learn how to improve their programs and practices, in addition to offering community education opportunities for the public.
The problem of animal overpopulation (which happens when animals aren’t spayed and neutered) and lack of humane care is widespread, especially in our region. In fact, Idaho is ranked 47th in the United States for animal welfare.
Many Idaho animal shelters are dealing with overpopulation and are forced to euthanize healthy, adoptable animals every year. We have the opportunity to help other shelters by relieving their overcrowding and educating them on how to provide more humane care so they can better take care of their own animal populations, becoming better resources for their own communities, and moving toward internal, long-term sustainability.
We can create lasting change and save hundreds of lives by bringing in animals that would otherwise be killed in overcrowded shelters and connect them with forever homes.
Will you be an animal sanctuary?
No. We believe that animals belong with a family in a forever home, not a shelter; therefore, we do not plan to house animals for life through sanctuary care.
We never euthanize for space, and only on rare occasions for dangerous behavioral issues or untreatable medical conditions that cause the animal suffering. We are proud to have implemented this policy in 1999 (the first shelter in Idaho to do so).
We are also an “adoption guarantee” shelter, meaning that if an animal is adopted through us, we will always accept it back if the owner is no longer able to keep it, no questions asked.
How will you work with local vets to support animals in our community?
It’s in the best interest of the animals and the community for us to work in partnership with local vets to ensure that animals continue to receive good care after they leave the Mountain Humane, which requires professional private-practice veterinary clinics.
The Spay/Neuter Clinic will be for medical services for the Mountain Humane animals and spay/neuter services, including our free clinics. These clinics are the number one reason we have been able to decrease the local stray animal population by 50%, allowing us to be a humane no-kill shelter. Now, we can accept adoptable animals facing euthanasia elsewhere.
We will not offer general medical care to the public, but encourage pet owners to develop a relationship with the local vet of their choice.
Local vets generously offer all adopters a free follow up exam when they adopt a new pet. With more than 600 animal adoptions per year, that’s a lot of potential new clients for our local vets!
How does bringing in animals rescued from other shelters help Blaine County?
After almost a decade of our Free Community Spay/Neuter Clinics, we are seeing the success of the program through a reduction in our local homeless animal population. However, hundreds of local families per year still want to adopt loving new companions from the Mountain Humane – bringing in adoptable pets from overcrowded regional shelters not only helps save those animals’ lives, but it meets the local demand for rescued pets.
Having a diverse group of animals available for adoption, with the benefits of our services – spay/neuter, microchips, vaccinations, basic obedience training, and more – draws hundreds of visitors per year to the valley, bringing customers who visit local businesses, increasing the Valley’s economic vitality. In fact, our 2016 operations infused $5.3 M back into the local economy. Read more about Mountain Humane's economic impact here.
What will happen to the old building?
We own it so we can continue to provide services while we build the new facility.
Once we’re in the new campus, the old building will continue to serve our needs as storage and the location for the crematorium (a service we provide to the public). There are other ideas that we’ll evaluate as needs arise, weighing benefits against cost of operation.
Will you be able to expand down the road, if needed?
Yes! With 20 acres (11 acres in the building envelope), there is plenty of room to grow in the future. When the need for additional capacity becomes apparent, we have plans ready for a Phase 2, which will include a 2nd block of dog kennels and increase capacity by 22 dogs. This is tentatively projected for 2021.
Why are you raising $16 million for this project?
In order to keep animals safe and healthy, modern shelters are more like hospitals than residential buildings. In addition to requiring hospital-like finishes and mechanical systems, the buildings also have to stand up for 30 or more years to the most destructive residents you can imagine (thank goodness they're cute!). Our highly experienced and qualified team has spent over a year streamlining our systems to ensure maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness while still meeting the purpose/mission of the project. In fact, when compared to multiple other new shelters being built currently or recently, our costs are right in-line with expectations.
For years now the current shelter has not been able to adequately meet the needs of our animals in terms of the spreading of contagious diseases which has caused unnecessary illness and animal loss. Outbreaks of feline panleukopenia (in November 2016 we had a case that closed our doors to accepting stray or surrendered cats for a month), upper respiratory disease, canine parvo virus, kennel cough, and much more has plagued the shelter due to inadequate ventilation, cleaning systems, and lack of space to quarantine sick animals. The new shelter will give our most vulnerable animals a chance to recover, rehabilitate, and share their life with a loving family.
Since we are very careful with our donors’ dollars, we have hired one of the nation's leading architects of Animal Shelters to ensure the project is done right the first time. Animal Arts in Boulder, Colorado is a nationally recognized expert in this field, and has completed 900 successful animal care projects.
Since the building platform is not on city land, the backend expenses are much higher than an in-town facility. We are unable to hook into city water, sewer, internet and other services. From power, water, septic, fire suppression, high-speed internet, and more – we've had to put in our own infrastructure and the costs add up quickly. However, the benefits of the location far outweigh the costs and will result in an incredibly valuable community asset that gives back much more to the Wood River Valley.
It's important to us that this new facility meets not only the needs of the animals and our community, but also that its operations are fiscally sustainable. Our sustainability initiatives (including both solar power & geothermal) have higher upfront costs which increase our initial price tag but will pay off with long-term sustainable operational savings.
What kind of community partnerships will you have?
We already work closely with many other local nonprofits and community groups, including The Hunger Coalition, The Advocates, The Senior Connection, and all the local schools. For example, our Paws for Hunger Pet Food Bank partnership with The Hunger Coalition has provided more than 6,000 bags of pet food to families facing an economic crisis, so they don't have to choose between feeding or giving up a beloved family pet to the shelter.
These partnerships will all continue to grow when we're in the new campus and we are already planning new opportunities to collaborate with other groups to improve our community. If you are part of an organization and see potential to work with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How are you funding the new animal adoption and humane education center?
Both our annual operations and the capital campaign to build this amazing new campus are funded by private donors (including both individuals and foundations) as much from those in our community as it as from those across our country who are like-minded in our commitment to make Idaho a leader in animal welfare. We receive no government grants.
What kind of impact will the new building have on the environment?
In order to be a good community and environmental steward, in addition to being responsible with our donor dollars, the shelter is investing in several measures that will both benefit the environment and decrease our annual operating costs. To decrease our use of propane to run the heating and cooling systems, we are installing a ground source heat pump (geothermal) system. We are also installing solar panels to decrease our reliance on the power grid. Over the life cycle of these two systems, we are projected to save more than $1.5 million in operating costs ($40,000 per year) and reduce our carbon footprint by almost 40 million kilograms!