Contributed photo/Tamara Weaver
                                Leslie Byron, APS executive director; Jaime Ellsworth, APS Board member; and Julie Corey, APS Board member and past APS Board president celebrate the grand opening on Sept. 29.

Contributed photo/Tamara Weaver Leslie Byron, APS executive director; Jaime Ellsworth, APS Board member; and Julie Corey, APS Board member and past APS Board president celebrate the grand opening on Sept. 29.

New animal shelter opens in Friday Harbor

A section of Cattle Point Road has gone to the dogs.

In fact, 938 Cattle Point Road has gone to the cats, too.

The Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor staff and volunteers christened their new facility at that address on Saturday, Sept. 29. They plan to move their roughly 30 animals in by the end of October.

The new facility boasts roughly 1,800 more square feet than their current space to house adoptable cats and dogs. New amenities include a surgical suite, exam room, grooming space and an area to hold educational events on animal care and safety.

In this new building, young cats and dogs are separated from their older counterparts, and there is space for new arrivals to be quarantined before introduced to their four-legged friends. There are also separate heating, ventilation and air conditioning units for cats, dogs and humans, which was recommended for health benefits.

According to Carolyn Haugen, the president of the animal shelter’s board, the facility was the result of four years of campaigning. The $2.3 million needed to build the roughly 5,300-foot structure was raised entirely from private donations, as Haugen said, from contributions of pennies to thousands of dollars.

“This was achieved through community members and friends of the community,” said Haugen. “It truly is a grassroots accomplishment.”

A plaque on the shelter sums up the staff and volunteers’ gratitude, she added. It states that the facility is “dedicated to the San Juan Island community of families and friends with special thanks to those who gave so generously to make a dream become a reality.”

It was in 1981 when the idea of an island animal shelter was first launched, thanks to about 10 volunteers, including organizer Mary Tumosa, who now lives off the island.

The founders opened a facility in 1983 in a former kennel on Wold Road, then came the 20-year lease, on their last property, with the Port of Friday Harbor.

The roughly 5 acres on Cattle Point was purchased in 2013 thanks to Robert and Rebecca Pohlad. The building holds the name the “Luca Center of the Animal Protection Society Friday Harbor,” in honor of the Pohlad’s passed German Shepherd, with, according to a dedication plaque, “the hope that all who pass through the doors, whether on two legs or four, have the opportunity to experience the same bond that we had with Luca.”

Over the years, this Friday Harbor no-kill shelter has saved 1,360 kittens, 1,700 cats, 1,510 puppies and 2,550 dogs. That, said shelter director Leslie Byron, is just the beginning.

“We hope people will stop by the new shelter and check out our volunteer opportunities, which we will have a lot of,” she said. “We just want to give a big thank you to everyone who was a part of [creating the new shelter]. We could not have done it without the community.”

 

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