New home for animal shelter? Plans, design, location unveiled

A shih tzu named
A shih tzu named 'Taffy' is among the many pets and animals cared for by the Friday Harbor Animal Protection Society.
— image credit: Contributed photo/APS

— Submitted by FH Animal Protection Society

The Animal Protection Society – Friday Harbor is very pleased to announce the kickoff of a capital campaign to raise funds for a new animal shelter facility on San Juan Island.

The project, “New Home – New Hope” was formally announced to the community at last Sunday’s ‘Wags to Riches’ event, and the initial response has been extremely positive.

The project started as a vision of the executive director, Leslie Byron, and the current board president Jaime Ellsworth. Two years ago, the dream became a necessity when APS was made aware that the current property lease with the Port of Friday Harbor would more than likely be shortened from 20 years to five years.

With the deteriorating conditions of the current shelter building and the future loss of the current property lease it was decided by the APS board to start searching for a new location and build a new facility.

The project was able to move forward with a very generous donation to APS by Robert and Rebecca Pohlad in honor of their German Shepherd ‘Luca’. The donation was substantial enough to purchase property for the new building.

After an extensive search for suitable property, a 5-acre parcel was purchased very near the existing shelter, at 994 Cattle Point Rd. As the project progressed, the new shelter development committee contacted Mark Travers, a renowned architect from Seattle. Mark was the designer for the NOAH Shelter on I-5, near Stanwood.

In his generosity, Mark has offered APS his personal time, knowledge, design services and consultations at no expense to the organization. Mark and his team have designed a beautiful, efficient, low stress, low impact facility that will be a welcome addition to the San Juan Island community.

The campaign kickoff was announced at the annual Wags to Riches event on Sunday, Aug 3. The response was overwhelming.

During the ‘raise the paddle’ portion of the live auction, it was announced by Bob and Lissa McDowell that their intention was to offer a ‘substantial matching of funds’ to get everyone at the event involved in the campaign action

The tone was set, and the crowd rallied; with the help of professional auctioneer Jay Fiske of NW Benefit Auctions and McDowell match, approximately $135,000 was pledged towards the New Home – New Hope Capital Campaign.

It was a fantastic start to a serious campaign to build the new facility.

APS-FH will be partnering with the Community Foundation to raise the funds needed for this campaign. The project can only happen with the help and generosity of our community. It is our hope to make the new shelter a reality within the next two years.

More information about the campaign and new shelter plans contact Leslie Byron, 360-378-2159, or email


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