After a two-year process, the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley has acquired a 17-acre parcel of Bureau of Land Management property adjacent to its facility west of Hailey.
The organization has outgrown its existing shelter on five acres of donated land along Croy Creek Road, Executive Director Jo-Anne Dixon said.
"The current facility was never intended for 100-plus animals or have a medical clinic for spaying and neutering," Dixon said. "After 29 years, the shelter needs to expand because the valley has expanded."
Before acquiring the land, the shelter was contacted by the BLM because one of its kennels and a small building were encroaching on federal property. The shelter had the choice of removing the kennel and building or buying the property, which is on a hillside to the west.
"When we walked the 17 acres with Tara Hagan of the BLM, we were overjoyed to discover that there is a big flat area in Vorgerg Gulch, which is part of the 17 acres we have purchased," said shelter board member Shelia Lierman. "It's a perfect place for a new shelter facility."
The purchase price was $23,000 for the 17 acres, but the shelter spent a total of $55,000 to meet the BLM's required land studies and legal standards.
Dixon said the shelter will need to embark on a fundraising campaign to build a new facility.
"We hope to have the facility in the next five years," she said. "I think it's doable. We need to plan for the next 25 years."
She said 90 percent of the shelter's operating expenses comes from private donations.
"It's the backbone of the organization," she said. "I don't see that changing."
Dixon called the shelter the most progressive in the state, noting it was the state's first no-kill shelter.
"We recognize there are kill shelters all around us," she said. "We want to be a model for the state."
Sabina Dana Plasse: firstname.lastname@example.org