SHERIDAN — The Second Chance Sheridan Cat Rescue will need a new facility in February with a minimum of 4,000 square feet for the 80 cats and kittens in its care.
The nonprofit’s current landlord told the two directors — Rachel and Elaine Kristiansen — that he would not renew their lease for the building east of Golden Rule Grocers. The current space holds the cats and kittens — about 20 to 30 more cats than normal — fairly well, but funding always proves tricky for the nonprofit organization. An unusually high number of kittens came in this year. Elaine Kristiansen said they rescued around 90 cats from the Woodland Park Village, and many cats still remain in the area.
“We are getting a lot of adoptions as well, they just keep coming in,” Rachel Kristiansen said. “We need people to spay and neuter their cats.”
The search for a new building has proven unsuccessful at this point in the Kristiansens’ search. Either buildings are far too large or they are too small for all they would like to do. The nonprofit’s mission is to rescue and rehabilitate special-needs cats, provide free and low-cost spay and neuter services to the local community and assist people who need help keeping their pets during difficult life situations. The organization also places particular emphasis on helping veterans and those falling on hard times.
Because of high euthanasia numbers in Sheridan County, it was apparent that a shelter specific for cats was needed in the area, so the nonprofit cat rescue began in 2010. Since then, the owners have been working diligently to encourage pet owners to spay and neuter their cats and kittens, as a common misconception they run into are that cats have to be at least one year old to bear a litter.
With the new space, Rachel Kristiansen said they would ideally create an area specifically for the shelter, and community members to be able to spay and neuter their cats and even dogs. One veterinarian in Sheridan already volunteers time and works to help spay and neuter pets when the Kristiansens ask for her help. They would anticipate a few more veterinarians contributing as they hope to apply for and earn more grant funding for that specific outreach effort.
The cat shelter maintains a positive relationship with the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter. Rachel Kristiansen said the shelter was already low-kill, meaning it euthanizes a minimal number of animals, but the interim executive director Julie Chadwick has done even more to prevent euthanizing animals if at all possible.
“I think that we’ll see a vast change in statistics from the shelter once we look at them next year,” Rachel Kristiansen said.
Chadwick supported the rescue’s effort in obtaining funding for a spay and neuter clinic.
“We worked together to pioneer a trap, neuter, release (TNR) program in our area,” Chadwick wrote in a letter of support.
She also said the dog and cat shelter could not have cared for the volume of cats/kittens coming in as strays or that were dropped off by the public this year.
“Second Chance spearheaded a spay neuter event as well as a TNR campaign in targeted areas that we (both agencies) determined were areas of real concern because of several factors including public health and safety,” Chadwick wrote. “Second Chance has proven to be an invaluable community member.”
Second Chance, while the owners have continuously applied, have never received Optional One-Cent Sales Tax funds and are told each year that the government entities cannot afford to support both the dog and cat shelter and the cat rescue.
If the cat sanctuary does not find a new home by February, the remaining cats that have not been adopted by that time will have to be placed in the dog and cat shelter, which would strain the shelter’s ability to best serve the area and its stray animals.