Columbia County Humane Society President Donna Evans keeps more than 30 dogs at her Evans home.
Nine of those dogs are her personal pets.
Many of the remaining 25 animals Evans fosters will move to the humane society's shelter when it is built, a facility where foster animals will be seen more by the public and adopted into permanent homes quicker.
Evans said the humane society, which is a no-kill facility, has been raising money for more than four years to construct a low-cost spay/neuter clinic on 13.7 acres on Columbia Road. The land across from Grimaud Place subdivision was purchased in December 2001 with the intent to build a clinic, a dog park and a permanent shelter.
"By no means do we have all the money raised," Evans said. "We are betting on Columbia County residents that they are going to help with this because we are going to have to borrow money to see this happen.''
Wally Tereshinski, the owner of Wally's CITGO on Belair Road at Cox Road, recently donated more than $7,000 to the humane society's building fund. For the third year, Tereshinski has put 10 cents for each gallon of gas sold during July toward the cause.
"He's given over $27,000," Evans said.
More than $250,000 has been raised for the building fund, but in the long-term, Evans said about $1.5 million will be needed to complete the animal-friendly complex. The original plan was to construct the clinic and dog park with an initial $300,000, but plans have changed.
"As things are changing, real life, we've got to at least have some type of small shelter to start with," said Evans, adding that the humane society's five foster homes foster about 70 cats and dogs until they are adopted.
Evans said the initial construction of the 3,100-square-foot building also will include a small shelter that can be open for the public to meet animals available for adoption instead of just at the weekly Saturday afternoon adoptions at Petco.
"You might take some to the shelter (from the foster homes), and if they don't turn over for a while, then you may take them back to the foster home and take others," Evans said. "So they might rotate over. But we're hoping, because we'll be out in the public more, that they will get adopted quicker, many more adoptions."
Evans said unwanted or stray animals remain a problem in Columbia County. The county's Animal Care and Control facility euthanizes about 3,000 animals a year, said Evans, who is a member of the county's Animal Care and Control Advisory Board.
The site plan for the humane society construction has already been approved by the county and a Colorado architect is working on schematics. Evans said she hopes the driveway will be completed by the end of the year.
Evans anticipates the public dog park to be a popular pet destination, where owners can play frisbee or ball with their dogs or hike the walking trails that will be available.
"Once we get out there, we will call for residents to come in and form a group - Friends of the Dog Park," Evans said. "They will help us govern and maintain the park. It is going to be a community owned and operated facility.''
Eventually, once enough money is raised, the kennels will be expanded to accommodate more animals, and the building will include an education room for tours and children's groups.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.