A dog looks out recently from the Greene County Animal Shelter. If she can make it through to adoption without getting stitches, she’ll be one of the lucky ones at the local shelter.

Walters gives $50K to shelter

By RICK MORAIN

For The Jefferson Herald

For Alice Walters, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Animals have been part of her life ever since she was a young girl growing up on the farm near Glidden. Her cat, Penny, who passed away not long ago, had brightened her days for many years. She has shared almost all her life with pet cats.

So the longtime Jefferson resident, who will be 104 in August, recently donated a handsome gift to the proposed local animal shelter project.

The Walters gift of $50,000 boosts the project’s funding level to the halfway point, said Don Orris, of Jefferson, chair and spark plug of the shelter’s fundraising drive.

Orris praised Walters’ generosity: “Alice is a person I have long looked up to. Her dry wit, practical approach to life, and dedication to others make her one of my personal heroes. Her significant gift further demonstrates her positive efforts to leave things better than she found them.”

The Walters donation joins others contributed by many local donors, together with grants that have raised the drive to date to the $550,000 level. 

Cost of the project is estimated at $1.1 million.

The proposed site for the shelter, together with an expansive dog park, is on land donated by the Greene County Development Corp. immediately south of the Spalding/American Athletic annex building at the west end of American Avenue, south of Highway 30 and west of Highway 4. 

The current animal shelter, located on West Russell Street next to the city’s wastewater plant, can house only a few cats and dogs and is woefully inadequate. 

It has been maintained for years by volunteers of the local People for Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) humane organization at their own cost in time and resources (see details in a story in last week’s Herald). It fails to meet state of Iowa standards, and state officials have notified the city of Jefferson that the clock is ticking on how long it will be permitted to operate.

And the clock is also ticking on how long some of the grants approved for the new shelter will be operative.

Orris explained that if the project does not get underway within a certain number of months after the grants are awarded, they will expire.

Three years ago, Orris undertook comprehensive research throughout the state, visiting a number of animal shelters to discover what worked best. He developed a design and operational suggestions for a new shelter for Greene County, taking the best ideas he found on his travels.

The proposed shelter would feature 10 dog kennels and 18 cat cages, plus four isolation cages for each species. Built-in safety features would discourage the spread of disease among the animals housed within, and cleanliness and temperature control would be much easier to maintain than in the present facility.

Major donors are needed immediately in order to see the project through to fruition, Orris said. If you’re interested in helping, you’re invited to call Orris at 515-370-5740 for details about how to give an asset and keep the income flowing to you.

For details about the project itself, go to YouTube and search “Greene County Animal Facility” to view a video about the present inadequate facility and a simulated drone fly-through and over the proposed facility.

“We want to thank all of the generous donors,” Orris said, “and want to encourage all others that now is the time to make your generous donation.”

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