The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Seward’s Animal Shelter seeks upgrade

 

Leon Youngblood | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Set back among workmanlike kennels, Seward’s Animal Shelter has been the saving grace for many a lost dog and kitten. At times home to dozens of put upon pets, the shelter subsists upon a meager budget, the resources of volunteers and donated services.

It’s not much to look at, but Shelli McDowell, animal control officer and shelter manager, makes the dilapidated structure and makeshift accommodations go a long way. Like her predecessor, Jennifer Carick, McDowell is a contractor for the City of Seward and works in conjunction with the police department to manage the problems that pets and some of their owners create. McDowell credits former operator Jennifer Carick with getting her involved with the local operation. Along with April Bunn, McDowell’s kennel aide, she has been running the area’s only animal shelter for over two years.

During that time there have been abortive forays into either upgrading the existing facility or constructing a new one. Recently more concrete plans have been underway as the city has identified a new site for the shelter. The proposed location is newly acquired city property near the corner of the Seward Highway and Levee Road.

The recent Pawsghetti fundraiser brought in over $2,000 and a local benefactor has recently donated $500 to a building fund. Although these contributions are helpful and appreciated, the bulk of funding for a new facility is likely to come from grants and matching funds from the city. One of the more likely prospects is a State of Alaska capital improvement grant. However that requires that the project be prioritized and spearheaded by the city and that a viable non-profit organization be ready to undertake responsibilities of operation and partnership with the city.

Meanwhile, although the population of pets housed at the shelter has its ups and downs, the recent flooding severely tested the limits of both personnel and pets. With temporary residents combining with the typical range of inmates, the shelter became home to almost 30 animals. At least one flooded out family still hasn’t got back on their feet and five Shih Tzu’s including the elderly patriarch are still padding the halls.

The shelter collaborates closely with several organizations to provide services and find homes for displaced pets. One of those organizations is Peninsula Unwanted Pets or PUPS. Principally, PUPS was formed to be a prospective partner with the City of Seward in future development of a new shelter facility. However PUPS works beyond the Seward area to transport animals and provide medical care, food and other necessities.

Another long-time supporter of the shelter has been Save Our Seward Pets which provides vouchers for neutering pets, holds microchip ID clinics, and provides educational services and networking between the shelter, prospective owners and service providers. The principal service provider to pet owners as well as the shelter is Matthew Hall, DVM, who McDowell credits for being a great benefactor to the Seward area pet community. Information about Save Our Seward Pets is online at SOSPetsAK.org and Facebook.

The Alice Pickett Seward Animal Shelter is a city facility on city property and its mandate is to provide transitional housing, food and medical care for unruly or loose animals, whether they be homeless or just displaced. McDowell can also sponsor the issuance of tickets to abusive owners for maltreatment or poor living conditions.

Needless to say, the shelter has many deserving pets waiting for a good home. Including some substantial dogs and meaningful cats. Contact the Seward Animal Shelter at 224-7495 or 491-0000. For emergencies or animal control contact Seward Police dispatch at 224-3338. The shelter has a website at sewardanimals.com and a Facebook page.

 

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