Tobacco Valley Animal Shelter On-Site Visit

Recently, Terry Williamson, our Executive Director, visited the Tobacco Valley Animal Shelter on January 23rd for several reasons including:

• To notify them that they had been selected as the 2023 Mission PAWsible Shelter Awardee by the Hero Club Gold
• To meet with facility management
• To review their events schedule and discuss ways we might be able to participate
• To tour the facility and identify possible facility upgrades

I met with Wendy, the Facility Manager and Legend, one of her employees. Wendy is clearly in charge of everything and was responsible for the facility being built 12 years ago. She has 7 paid employees and a handful of volunteers. Their total budget is $220K/year with $50K of that coming from the County. The rest is donated.

Here are some stats on what the facility provides:

• Over 500 pets were saved in 2022 with 350 or so being dogs

• 109 of those pets were abandoned and 59 neglected or abused

• Over 400 pets were vaccinated through a cost sharing program in 2022. The shelter pays 1/3 rd of the total cost ($30,000) with the County and owners covering the rest

• The shelter operates 2 facilities, on in Eureka, MT and the other in Libby, MT

• Dogs arriving at the facility get placed in an average of 19 days (up from 7)

• The facility can house 30 dogs max

• The land and building are owned outright by the Shelter

The Shelter has two big events every year. The biggest is their “Mutty Gras” on February 25th this year. It is at the local fairgrounds and includes a dinner, silent auction, and raffle. They also sponsor an event called “Paws for Pancakes” in June each year, but that is much smaller.

Also, once a year the shelter houses the “Spay Montana” team from Helena and together with a team of vets, spays and neuters 100 +/- cats and dogs in a weekend. That event costs around $7,000 to sponsor.

I toured the facility and grounds. It was, by far, the best kept, cleanest, best smelling animal shelter I have ever toured. There were no feces or urine smell, the cages were spotless and everything was well organized.

The only thing facility-wise needed was additional shade for the dogs in the summer. It gets into the mid 90’s commonly in the summer and there is one tiny shaded are for just a few dogs. We could definitely help with that project and it wouldn’t cost much money.

Here is what I committed us to doing:

Mutty Gras Sponsorship: We will provide auction items (massage guns (3) and laser tag units (3)). We will also sponsor the event on February 25th for $1,500.

Supplements: We will provide calming chews, multi-chews and hip and join chews for the dogs free of charge.

Placement Assistance Attention: As we do with other charities/shelters, we will use our community as a resource to place dogs and bring attention to the shelter and events where appropriate.

Facility Upgrades: We will discuss ways to increase the amount of shade available for the dogs when outside in the summertime.

Original story / article courtesy of Spectrum News 1

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