Friday, 05 May 2017 08:00

Nanton Animal Protection Society hopes for space to shelter cats

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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Officials in Nanton hope they will have a new shelter to house the cat population later this year. Kim Williamson, shelter manager for the Nanton Animal Protection Society (NAPS), says the society’s members have been raising funds for a new cat shelter since 2013.


The current shelter is a 600-square-foot single-wide trailer and this has been their home for the last 10 years.
This trailer was gifted to NAPS by a generous, local businessman for only $50 a month.
“Until now, we have been able to make it work. However, there are many drawbacks,” explains Williamson. “There is no running water or plumbing in the building, which makes sanitizing the space very difficult.”
Due to the running water issue volunteers bring in milk jugs filled with water and use kettles to warm it for cleaning.
The building is not well insulated and that makes it difficult to keep warm in the winter months. Williamson says occasionally when the temperature dips very low, the water bowls will freeze or mopping turns the floors into an ice rink.
“Most surfaces in the shelter are wood paneling or plywood, which again makes it very difficult to contain the spread of disease and keep things sanitary and clean,” she adds.
The building is nearing its end.
“We had allotted some funds to make improvements, but once they were underway it was discovered the floor trusses and most exterior walls were so badly damaged and rotten, that our planned improvements could not move forward.”
The current medical isolation room only has space for two animals at one time, which limits how many animals they can accept. Also, Williamson says their current building does not allow them to safely house canines without severe stress to the felines.
“We are hoping a new facility will allow proper sterilization and cleaning, give us a bit more functionality and make things comfortable overall for everyone involved. In addition to allowing for more assistance with canine requests,” adds Williamson.
Since 2013, the society has been raising funds for a new building when one of the founding members fell ill.
“She had always dreamed of a shelter for the animals she would care for and as her dying wish, asked that we make a real effort at getting that done.”
The society put on a successful silent auction in this founding member’s honour and raised $13,000. That money was used as a starting point.
Since then, they’ve been able to raise about $60,000 to date through the generosity of their supporters and corporate sponsorships.
The $60,000 isn’t enough, but those funds have enabled NAPS to purchase a parcel of land from Nanton Vet Clinic, which they will eventually adorn with their new shelter.
Williamson says they’re still raising funds and accepting donations to put towards their ultimate goal of a new facility. This could end up costing them an additional $250,000 or more.
Now they have purchased the land, Williamson says they’re hoping to be moved in to a new completed facility no later than this fall. However, there’s still a lot of work to do.
“Our board of directors is working diligently and researching the most financially-responsible options. We are currently discussing whether we would like to purchase an existing structure and move it on site, or if we can start from scratch and build something brand new,” she adds.
NAPS has been able to help more than 400 animals annually for many years. With a new facility, they feel that number could increase substantially.
The organization takes in animals surrendered by their owners, assists owners with temporary foster care and helps owners privately re-home their pets when necessary.
As well, NAPS has an active TNR program, which traps, sterilizes and re-releases felines to help reduce the stray/feral population in the town and surrounding areas.
“We assist the farming community with sterilizing their barn cats, to promote healthy feral, working colonies,” adds Williamson.
Annually, NAPS also takes in 10 to 12 litters of kittens during “kitten season,” which is in the spring, to help find forever homes for them.
The current shelter space allows for a total of 33 cats at one time. However, Williamson says they generally house between 15 to 25 cats.
In the spring, kitten season begins and that number significantly grows and will generally stay high until the winter months.
As the space does not allow dogs, or other animals to be housed, the numbers they see for those types of animals are much smaller, but Williamson says they’re able to utilize foster homes in those cases, until forever homes can be found.
NAPS is a not-for-profit, so they are accepting donations.
“We are really hoping for the generosity of the public to assist us financially with the costs of this project. Realistically, an animal shelter is a service for the community, which benefits us all in some way,” adds Williamson.
People who would like to contribute to the building fund can do so by going on their website where a PayPal donation can be made, or directly on PayPal people can search their name in the list of registered non-profits and make a donation there.
Visit http://www.nantonanimalprotection.com/ to make a donation or view more information on NAPS.
People can also mail their donations to P.O. Box 1377, Nanton AB, T0L 1R0.
“Once settled into our brand new facility,
NAPS intends to roll out some public educational programs geared toward responsible pet ownership and proper health maintenance for the family pet, along with continuing our youth outreach programs through both local schools and other public service programs,” adds Williamson.
Check out the group's crowdfunding campaign and donate at: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/pets-are-priceless-help.

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