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Animal Control, rescue group develop play yard for animals up for adoption

By Melissa Crowe
Aug. 20, 2014 at 5:36 p.m.
Updated Aug. 20, 2014 at 10:41 p.m.

Heather Kern with  Victoria County Animal Control has seen a change in the dogs now that they have a special run where they play and get out of their confined space. Kim Cole raised enough money through the Facebook site  Shelter Pets within 48 ours to cover the cost of two fenced areas where small and large dogs could have their separate runs

Kim Cole's passion for furry creatures is helping improve the lives of lost and homeless animals.

With the help of an online fundraising website, Cole is giving animals housed at Victoria County Animal Control a chance to enjoy the dog days of summer.

When Heather Kern, director of the shelter, contacted Cole about needing a play yard for the animals, Cole was excited to help.

Kern wanted to give potential adoptive parents a chance to get to know the personality of a dog off-leash.

"It's been an idea of mine since I started here nine years ago," Kern said.

She'd worked with Cole, the founder of a local rescue group, Shelter Pets of Victoria, since it started in June 2013.

Both say it has been a positive relationship.

Cole helps find foster homes for animals and brings necessities to the shelter when supplies are low. She is currently on the lookout for more foster families.

"That relationship is what makes the difference for some of these homeless animals," Kern said.

With 5,500 to 6,000 animals traveling through the shelter each year, that extra mile to find them a home is a big deal.

Once Cole got on board with the play yard, she set up an account on a fundraising website, and the project was fully funded with 48 hours.

Kern said she thinks the divided run will be a positive addition to the shelter and a good thing for the animals and community.

"Even 20 minutes a day, it's good for their personality and their mindset," Kern said. "A dog on a leash is different than a dog running in a yard."

She's also looking forward to the effect the fun, outdoor environment will have on her staff.

"We have a soft-hearted staff," she said. "It's a hard job we do every day. ... Our goal is to get as many homeless, healthy animals out of here alive and in good, loving homes."

Each play yard measures 20 feet wide by 55 feet long.

Unless the animals are already housed together, they have individual time in the yard.

Cole started a Facebook group for Shelter Pets that has grown to 2,300 members. She uses the online forum to connect potential adoptive parents with animals and share success stories of people being reunited with their animals.

"They're all just precious," she said.



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