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CELEBRATING FREEDOM FOR HOMELESS PETS
Monday, 06.04.2012, 08:27am (GMT-6)
Hundreds of animals are abandoned and killed every year in the U.S.
A Southern Utah city is trying to change things on the local scene, though. The Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter (FIAS), directed by Linda Elwell, is focused on what is best for animals. This group is a nonprofit charity working to keep the Ivins Animal Shelter & Adoption Center functioning and thriving as a no-kill city shelter.
Aggie Smith, the Ivins Animal Shelter & Adoption Center manager, takes care of all of the animals as if they are her own pets. She knows all of the cats, dogs (and other animals) by name. The animals can tell they are spoiled by the shelter, Elwell said.
“If an animal gets lost from an adopted family, the first place they run is to the shelter,” Elwell said. “They are treated very well.”
The Ivins Animal Shelter & Adoption Center, fully remodeled in recent years, has room for approximately 14 dogs and has an indoor and outdoor facility for cats. On an average day, the shelter has about 12 dogs and 16 cats, but the shelter has had as many as 60 cats at one time.
Beyond dogs and cats, the shelter has also provided service to rabbits, a box turtle, an iguana, goats, wild birds and even horses. Elwell said the shelter has a partnership with Tuacahn Center for the Arts, and when horses are brought to the shelter they are taken to Tuacahn to be cared for by Tuacahn animal caregivers.
The Ivins Animal shelter is the only no-kill municipal shelter by ordinance in the state. Many others are attempting to be non-kill facilities, but the Ivins ordinance states it is a “non-kill” shelter. This ordinance was passed by the City of Ivins in 2010, Elwell said.
The shelter was established in 2005, and it was approved by the IRS as a nonprofit organization in 2007. The shelter always had a no-kill philosophy, even in the beginning.
The Ivins Animal Shelter has always had above a 97 percent save rate, which is much higher than the 95 percent save rate that is required of the shelter, Elwell said. She added that this is the highest save rate of shelter animals in the nation.
“For a small community, it is unheard of,” Elwell said.
The Ivins Animal Shelter is responsible for all the healthcare and treatment of the animals and relies heavily on fundraising efforts and donations, which is where FIAS, Elwell’s group, comes in. FIAS oversees the fundraising and charitable efforts that keep the shelter going.
In the month of July, the shelter is having a “Celebrate Freedom” event which will kick off at Lightfoots in Ivins with a Fourth of July barbeque from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. During July, the shelter will also feature half price adoption fees for cats and dogs.
Elwell has two adopted pets from the Ivins Animal Shelter and says she wouldn’t trade those puppies for the world.
“There is a difference with rescue dogs,” she said. “They know you have rescued them.”
If you would like to adopt a pet from the Ivins Animal Shelter & Adoption Center or learn more about the shelter, please call to make an appointment with Shelter Manager Aggie Smith, (435) 669-7043.
Another adoption option is dropping by the shelter between the usual operating hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Smith is usually at the shelter, and she will ask plenty of questions to assure she finds each family or individual the correct animal. The shelter also has a “foster animal” program that allows a family or individual to foster an animal for two weeks to see how the animal works with the family or individual. If any problems occur, the family or individual can bring the animal back to the shelter to see if they can find a better fit.
All of the animals currently available for adoption at the Ivins Animal Shelter can be seen online at www.petfinder.com.
The future of the Ivins Animal Shelter is bright. The recent remodel has greatly improved the shelter, and the generous donations and families wanting to adopt pets have helped the shelter become what it is today.
“Whenever I’m having a bad day, I just drive by the shelter, park my car and look at the shelter, and I just feel so much better,” Elwell said. “The beautiful facility and knowing we’re actually saving lives and making a difference — it is a great feeling.”
The Ivins Animal Shelter & Adoption Center is located at 474 N. 200 West in Ivins. To contact the shelter, call Shelter Manager Aggie Smith at (435) 669-7043.
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