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Feline Sanctuary

October 4, 2018 - The building that will house the Cat Sanctuary at the Livingston County Humane Society is delivered and sitting on its footings, but Humane Society Director Leslie Patek says they have some work to do before it opens.

The goal of the sanctuary is to separate the cats from the other animals and showcase them in the separate building. There are plans for cameras in the building and possibly of live streaming on the internet. Patek says they are considering how the features inside the building will be arranged. They may consider additional windows, but those are decisions that will be made over the next few weeks. She says the goal is to have the new Cat Sanctuary open by the end of the year.

Fund Drive Tops $107K
Feline sanctuary hoped to be completed this summer
C-T 02 06 18

The Livingston County Humane Society has raised just over $57,000 for the Feline Sanctuary. Combined with the $50,000 from the Great Plains/Drs. Morrill Foundation, the society has $107,000 for the sanctuary, and more. The Great Plains/Drs. Morrill Foundation has agreed that any leftover funds not used by the shelter for construction of the feline sanctuary can be used to purchase furnishings, provide for the future maintenance of the sanctuary, and for the needs of the shelter's fur friends, according to Shelter Guardian Lesley Patek.

David Copeland is working with a container contractor in Kansas City for a bid on the building and the building committee will to compare purchasing a container and bringing it to Chillicothe against having the customization performed at the Copeland Construction warehouse. Buzz Weeks has donated his time and equipment for site prep work for the new sanctuary once the spring weather arrives.

The next step is getting final approval from the Chillicothe City Council for the building. To that end, a committee is working to develop a firm estimate of utility and other costs. They will need to let the city know what its costs will be for the additional facility. The board and the fund-raising committee are hopeful that everything will be completed by midsummer. When the facility is complete, including the objects with donor names inside and outside the building, the Livingston County Humane Society will hold a ribbon cutting/dedication ceremony.

The list of donation levels and associated objects are as follows: Platinum Pavilion name (main Room) $5,000; Gold Bench with plaque $2,500 or more; Silver Cat Tree, with plaque $1,000 to 2,499; Bronze Paw Print plaque $500 to $999; Friends of the Sanctuary $50 to $499. Donations may be mailed to the Livingston County Humane Society, P.O. Box 1214, Chillicothe, MO 64601.

$10,000 Gift for Feline Sanctuary
Foundation donation helps humane society reach matching grant goal
12/13/17 C-T

The Livingston County Community Foundation presented a $10,000 grant to the Livingston County Humane Society to assist in construction of a new feline sanctuary for the shelter, located at 1400 South Mitchell Road. The shelter is bringing in five for six cats per day. Many of them are wild, sick or pregnant so they have three rooms full of cats. One of the missions of the shelter is to keep euthanasia of pets at a minimum and lack of space has been a factor in the euthanasia of 300 cats this year. The new sanctuary will furnish a pleasant location where potential adopters can visit with the cats without the present noise and commotion as well as free up more of the present facility area for dogs and other animals. The local humane society received a matching grant of $50,000 from the Doctors Morrill Foundation and have until the end of the month to obtain the match or they will lose that funding. Along with other grants the shelter has received, this $10,000 will virtually assure that the matching funds will reach the desired amount and the Morrill funds will be received.

The Livingston County Humane Society's plan to build a feline sanctuary received a financial boost in the amount of a $10,000 check presented by the Livingston County Community Foundation. From left, foundation representatives Ron Wilder (secretary), Armand Peterson (vice president), Lesley Patek (shelter guardian), and E.L. Reed (foundation treasurer). C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

The Livingston County Community Foundation was organized in 1998 as a recommendation of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce to set up a permanent endowment which will grant funds to other Livingston County non-profit organizations to fulfill their objectives. The foundation's major areas of interest are economic development, community service, rural development, education, community health and welfare, youth, and arts and humanities. Since its organization, the foundation has made 85 grants totaling approximately $550,000 to Livingston County non-profit organizations. To obtain more information about the Livingston County Community Foundation, contact Ron Wilder at 660-646-0502, email him at, or write to P.O. Box 405 in Chillicothe.

Feline Sanctuary Fund Drive Has Strong Start
C-T 09 22 17
The Livingston County Humane Society has launched a fund drive to raise money to build a feline sanctuary. A town meeting was held last week at Cultural Corner Art Guild and Gallery for interested individuals to learn more about the effort. Gerald Noble, president of the LCHS, introduced Mayor Chuck Haney and board members of the LCHS.

CAPTION: Doctors Morrill Foundation, an Animal Protection and Welfare Organization, has awarded the Livingston County Humane Society Cat Sanctuary, a $50,000 matching grant for a cage-free adoption center for cats. From left: Lesley Patek, shelter guardian; Jonathan Staton, trust officer of the Drs. Morrill Foundation; and Gerald Nobel, LCHS president.

Lesley Patek, shelter guardian, provided an overview for the plans and operation of the feline sanctuary and its importance to decrease the number of euthanasia that has been shown when a facility such as this is added to a community. Tom Ashbrook, Foundation and Trust chairman, provided an update on the local foundations that are providing funding for the project and explained the need for community involvement for future awards to be received. Steve Holt, Community Outreach chairman, offered the process in which individuals and businesses can participate in making donations. A donation can be made in 2017, but a pledge card for 2018 can be completed and will be considered part of the fundraising process for the matching challenge which allows the donor to issue that payment in 2018 to receive another contribution tax deduction. Jonathan Staton, trust officer of Great Plains Trust and Asset Management of Overland Park, Kansas, and trustee of the Drs. Morrill Foundation, was then introduced. Staton is a Chillicothe native, son of Jim and Mary Staton. He is a 2000 graduate of Chillicothe High School, received his degree in economics from Rhodes College, and earned his J.D. degree as well as his Master's in Law in Taxation in 2008 from University of Missouri- Kansas City.

The Drs. Morrill Foundation for the Betterment of Animals awarded the Livingston County Humane Society a $50,000 grant to assist in funding the new feline sanctuary which will be a new addition to the current animal shelter in Chillicothe and the first of its kind in a rural community in Missouri. This award will be used for the needs of the feline population and address the manner in which the animals will be able to interact with prospective adopting families through a non-cage setting. "This is absolutely spectacular," stated Patek. "Although this is a dollar-for-dollar matching grant, our community and those involved with the board and other volunteers are committed to reaching our goal which must be completed no later than December 31, 2017. Our relationship with the Drs. Morrill Foundation and Jonathan has been a godsend."

Those attending the meeting had the opportunity to ask questions and see the architectural renderings for the structure. Approximately $10,000 was raised Thursday evening, and other funds have been collected and pledged, giving the project a significant boost. To date, more than $25,000 has been raised. Anyone interested in donating can issue a tax deductible donation for 2017 and also complete a pledge card for a donation in 2018. Pledge cards can be obtained through the shelter or board members.

Update 09 05 17 (C-T) - Doctors Morrill Foundation, an animal protection and welfare organization whose objective is to revolutionize the status and well-being of shelter animals, has awarded the Livingston County Humane Society Cat Sanctuary a $50,000 matching grant for a cage free adoption center for cats most at risk of euthanasia, including seniors, sensitive, and special needs cats. This investment will provide the Livingston County Humane Society Feline Sanctuary the opportunity to increase capacity to create an additional, separate environment for more shy and sensitive cats, increase adoptions through direct interaction with prospective families and, therefore, decrease the euthanasia rate. A town meeting about funding the feline sanctuary is set for Thursday, Sept. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Cultural Center, 424 Locust Street. Among those in attendance will be Jonathan Staton, Doctors Morrill Foundation attorney, Livingston County Humane Society Board members, Lesey Patek, Tom Ashbrook (foundation trust and special gifts coordinator), and Steve Holt of Community FundWorks, LLC. The challenge of the project is that the local humane society must match the $50,000 donation that has been pledged. The stipulation in the grant agreement dictates that the local share of the match must be completed by the end of this fiscal year 2017. The funds/donations that have been raised - $11,866 - are held in escrow will count toward the $50,000 match. Time is of the Essence. "Five months isn't very long to raise this amount," says Steve Holt of Community Fund-Works. "We need to move quickly." Other stipulations are that the project be completed prior to the end of 2018, and they have naming rights for the building. Funds left over after the feline sanctuary is built may be used for the improvement of the rest of the shelter. Tom Ashbrook will be in charge of foundation and trust gifts. He will be inquiring about possible donations from some of the trusts that assist the community with funds for worthwhile projects/programs.

Feline overpopulation has been an uphill battle for the Chillicothe Animal Shelter (Forrest O. Triplett Animal Shelter) 
for many years. For the last four years, about 352 cats have been taken to the shelter every year. Because the 
shelter lacks space, funds and other resources, more than half of those cats are euthanized. "Building a feline sanctuary is essential for saving lives," Patek stated. "Because we are a licensed USDA dog kennel on one acre of land, space in the feline sanctuary is limited to 12 cats on view at a time. It's a way for us to save more cats every day." "We hope to adopt an average of one cat a day from the Feline Sanctuary," said Patek. "That's 365 cats adopted each year instead of 352 put down." The euthanasia rate the last four months was 81 percent which is much higher than in past years, according to Patek. "The new facility will be conducive to getting to know these feline friends," she said. "Sitting and talking to the cats, playing with and petting them leads to a greater probability of adoption for each animal." The staff and board of directors of the Livingston County Humane Society is appreciative of Jonathan Staton, Chillicothe native and trust attorney representing Great Plains Trust & Asset Management, who represents the Doctors Morrill Foundation. "Our board of directors and staff look forward to the challenge and opportunity that this grant will provide to our community and the welfare of our feline population," stated Gerald Noble, board president. The benefits with the grant, the Livingston County Humane Society Feline Sanctuary will be able to build a separate building on the same grounds as the current Forrest O. Triplett Shelter facility. The additional space will create an atmosphere for the most shy and sensitive cats to acclimate to a more social environment by providing them with private, smaller space. It will also allow cats with medical issues to be isolated, while still having the opportunity to be adopted.

Everyone will receive a certificate of thanks for helping make the feline sanctuary a reality. Those who give substantially will have their names attached to permanent fixtures at the facility, as follows: Platinum: Pavilion name (main Room) $5,000; Gold: Bench with plaque, $2,500 or more; Silver: Cat Tree, with plaque, $1,000 to $2,499; Bronze: Paw Print plaque, $500 to $999, Friends of the Sanctuary $50 to $499.

Update - Council Meeting July 31, 2017 - Chillicothe City Council members expressed support for the concept of developing a feline sanctuary near the Forrest O. Triplett Animal Shelter south of Chillicothe but said they must first see specific plans before giving full approval to the endeavor. Doug Long, a board member of the Livingston County Humane Society, explained the plans during Monday night's City Council meeting at City Hall. On behalf of the local Humane Society, Long sought the council's approval to locate the sanctuary on city property and to take ownership of the building once constructed. It was noted, however, that the council must first approve building plans for the facility before it is constructed and before taking ownership. The facility would be built through donations, Long said, and then donated to the city. He said that there is a $50,000 matching grant proposal from an animal welfare foundation on the table and that the local organization planned to begin efforts to raise the required matching funds. The local Humane Society raised $12,000 last year during a celebration commemorating Lesley Patek's 25th year as shelter guardian of the Chillicothe animal shelter. City Attorney Robert Cowherd stated that since the city would ultimately own the facility, the facility would need to meet certain criteria, including having the council approve the building plans, having the project meet certain bonding requirements, and paying prevailing wage for construction. Long stated that the matching funds would need to be raised this year and that the facility would be built next year. The feline sanctuary is proposed to be 40 feet by 8 feet and be located southwest of the existing shelter building. State mandates limit the facility's occupancy to no more than 12 cats. There are several use options for the proposed sanctuary. It could be used as a quarantine area to keep sick cats away from the general population or to house pregnant cats. Additionally, the sanctuary could provide a quiet area for individuals seeking to adopt a cat to be able to sit down and socialize with the cats before selecting one to take home.

By Brittany Tutt - July 19, 2016 - Feline overpopulation has been an uphill battle for the Chillicothe Animal Shelter (Forrest O. Triplett Animal Shelter) for many years. There has been an average of 352 felines taken into the shelter each year for the past four years. Needless to say, space is a major issue at the shelter, and because space is such an issue, feline euthanizations remain high year after year. Of the 360 homeless cats that entered the shelter in 2015, 234 were euthanized, meaning 65 percent of felines that entered the shelter were put down most likely due to lack of space, lack of resources and/or lack of money. Shelter guardian, Lesley Patek, and the board are currently raising funds to build a feline sanctuary that would help with spacing issues at the shelter, and would, in turn, decrease the cat euthanasia rate. Fundraising efforts for the sanctuary began on March 31 with a 25-year celebration for Patek. At the fundraiser / celebration, $8,000 was raised for the sanctuary building fund. According to Sharon Brooks, shelter board treasurer, the current fundraising total is $11,866. The shelter's goal is to raise $20,000 (which is 20 percent of the projected cost of the sanctuary and shelter building improvements). The board is hoping to obtain the rest of the money through grants. The board is still nailing down design details of the structure; and at this point, plans are subject to change. However, in the schematic drawings of the building created by architect, Claire Ashbrook, the facility is planned to be a narrow, rectangular structure with large windows and sliding glass doors for a lot of natural light. Dimensions of the sanctuary are unknown at this time and will be dictated by the available space at the location, according to shelter board secretary, Doug Long. The sanctuary will however be located on the current animal shelter grounds sitting south, west of the main shelter building (in between the main shelter building and the shelter's large shed) and would face north toward highway 36. The shelter hopes to start taking bids for the project soon. Though shelter staff and board members are grateful for the donations received for the feline sanctuary, regular donations to the shelter used for operational costs have decreased. Brooks said it costs about $10,000 a month to run the shelter and about $4,000 of that is vet bills. There is also payroll, phone bills, food bills, supply bills (cleaning supplies, litter, etc.) and more. The shelter relies on donations to stay afloat and to offer help to the animals of Livingston County."We are always in fundraising mode," Long said. Though feline sanctuary donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated, regular donations to the shelter are equally important and welcomed as well. Donations may be dropped off at the shelter.

By Brittany Tutt - March 11, 2016

CAPTION: The Forrest O. Triplett Memorial Animal Shelter (aka the Livingston County Humane Society) is planning to implement a feline sanctuary at the shelter to allow more space for cats, giving more cats more opportunities to be adopted into loving, forever homes.

Submitted Photo

Lesley Patek has been a faithful guardian to the Forrest O. Triplett Animal Shelter for the past 25 years. After 25 years of employment, some might ask their employer for a bonus or a raise, but not Lesley. She is not asking for something to benefit herself, but for the construction of a feline facility to benefit the animals she serves on a daily basis. This feline facility is something she has been dreaming about since she took over as guardian of the shelter in 1991. However, this feline sanctuary is not just a wish of Patek's; it's an absolute needed addition to the shelter, according to shelter staff and shelter board members. Feline overpopulation has been an uphill battle for the shelter for many years; and despite the shelter's efforts, cat numbers remain high year after year. With an average of 352 felines being taken in by the shelter each year over the past four years (totaling 1,409 cats in four years), space is a major issue. Because space is constantly an issue at the shelter, feline euthanizations remain high. Of the 393 homeless cats that entered the shelter in 2014, 252 were euthanized, meaning 64 percent of felines that entered the shelter were put down most likely due to lack of space, lack of resources and/or lack of money. The number of cats euthanized decreased by 18 in 2015. 360 cats entered the shelter and 234 had to be euthanized (65 percent).

Though neither the shelter, nor the animals themselves, are at fault for the number of cats euthanized each year, it quickly becomes the shelter's problem when kittens are dropped off at the shelter or deserted on the streets. Patek has been working hard to find solutions to decrease the percentage of cats euthanized every year, and a feline addition to the shelter is just the answer, Patek said. This feline sanctuary would allow more space for cats which would, in turn, decrease the cat euthanasia rate. According to Patek, right now, the shelter is not equipped to hold a lot of cats. There is limited space at the shelter, and many of the cats arriving at the shelter need to be quarantined (requiring even more space) because the majority of them are sick or aggressively feral (wild). Sick or feral cats cannot be enclosed with other cats because sickness may spread or harm may be done to the healthy, domestic, adoptable animals. Patek said she's even quarantined a cat in the shelter's bathroom before to try to save it, but "you can only do that for so long," she said. This feline facility would allow more space for the cats to be quarantined and would allow more space to have a cat maternity wing, according to Patek. "Having a cat facility would certainly solve problems," Patek said.

The animal shelter board is still in the beginning stages of designing this feline sanctuary and details of the structure are subject to change. However, in the schematic drawings of the building created by architect, Claire Ashbrook, the facility is planned to be a narrow, rectangular structure. According to board member, Doug Long, the dimensions of the sanctuary will be dictated by the available space at the location. The building would be located on the current animal shelter grounds sitting south, west of the main shelter building (in between the main shelter building and the shelter's large shed), and would face north toward Highway 36. Ashbrook's drawing indicates that there is planned to be a few large windows on the backside of the structure that are 8 feet by 8 feet to let in a lot of natural light for the cats. The front of the feline facility is planned to include some small windows (1.8 feet tall and 3 feet wide) and a large sliding glass door measuring 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. "The design concept behind this project was to create an economical structure that was also visually interesting," Ashbrook said of her schematic drawing. "We wanted to design a space that was simulating for the cats and enjoyable and comfortable for the volunteers and visitors to the Humane Society. By including lots of windows the space will be bright and have great air circulation, which is important for both the cats and the visitors."

The board will soon be accepting bids on both a metal container structure and a stick structure to determine which is the best structure in both quality and cost. In the bidding process, the board will accept bids for both the feline facility and improvements to the existing shelter, like adding windows for better light and ventilation. The animal shelter has set a goal to raise 20 percent of the total cost (which is estimated to be about $20,000), and they will be working with Community FundWorks to seek grants to cover the remaining cost of the sanctuary and improvements. Donation plaques will be hung in the cat facility with the names of donors engraved on them. There are three different donation levels available: Gold, $2,500 or more; Silver, $1,000 to $2,499; and Bronze, $500 to $999. There will also be a Friends of the Sanctuary plaque which will include the names of all the donors who make donations of $50 to $499.

In the dictionary, guardian means, "defender, protector, keeper," and that's what Lesley Patek is to the animals of Livingston County. She dedicates her life to caring for not only the animals in her shelter, but the animals in the entire county by constantly battling animal abuse and neglect in the community. Patek allows her heart to break every single day working at the shelter, but she does it for the well-being of the animals and for the good of the community. One can help Lesley in her fight to save homeless animals and simultaneously help her celebrate 25 years of hard work and dedication by attending her "Cheers for 25 Years" celebration on March 31 at Boji Stone Cafe from 5 to 6:30 p.m. This 25-year anniversary celebration will double as a fundraising kick-off for the feline sanctuary. Long said this event will give the public an opportunity for patrons to ask questions about the facility, to make donations and, most importantly, to "say thanks (to Patek) and support a cause that she has been pursuing for so many years," Long said. For this event, the board has asked that past Forrest O. Triplett pet adopters submit photos of their rescue pets to be displayed at the event. Photos and / or donations can be mailed to "Cheers for 25 Years," P.O. Box 1203, Chillicothe, MO 64601.

Celebration for Shelter Guardian a Great Start to Fundraising for Feline Sanctuary
Apr. 4, 2016

CAPTION: Community members greet Lesley Patek (left) with hugs and words of appreciation in recognition of her 25 years as guardian of the Forrest O. Triplett Memorial Animal Shelter. The reception also served as the start to a fund drive to raise money to build a feline sanctuary. David Moore, Chillicothe City Councilman-at-Large presented Patek with a proclamation.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Forrest O. Triplett Memorial Animal Shelter Guardian, Lesley Patek, was recognized on Thursday night at Boji Stone Cafe during a "Cheers for 25 Years" celebration thrown in her honor. According to shelter board member, Doug Long, people flowed in and out of Boji Stone from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. All congratulated Patek on her 25 years of dedication and got an opportunity to learn about and donate to the new feline sanctuary to be constructed at the current animal shelter located at 1400 S. Mitchell Avenue. This celebration doubled as a fundraising kick-off for the feline sanctuary which is planned to be named the "Lesley Patek Feline Sanctuary." About $8,000 was raised and the board's fundraising goal is $20,000. David Moore, Chillicothe City Councilman-at-Large presented Patek with a proclamation that read: "Whereas Lesley Ann Patek will celebrate her 25th year as Shelter guardian for the Livingston County Humane Society; Whereas Lesley is an England native that moved to Marceline, Missouri in 1970 before coming to Chillicothe, Missouri to care for the animals of Livingston County; Whereas, Lesley was awarded the Unsung Hero Award in 2009 and was presented the first ever Citizen of the Year for Chillicothe, Missouri in 2014; Whereas, she was well-deserving with her unwavering dedication to the community as protector, advocate and heroine for all animals local and in surrounding areas; Whereas, she has fully dedicated her life working countless hours, days and nights and even holidays to care for animals. Lesley does not set behind a desk at the shelter; she is on the floor, feeding, washing, and loving the shelter animals; Whereas, you may not see Lesley leaping tall buildings and swinging through the city streets on spider webs but in the eyes of our furry friends Lesley is a superhero, a superhero that saves lives each and everyday. A superhero with super powers to love animals on a different level in which she cares for animals, feeds the animals, trains the animals, rehabilitates the animals and has the ability to bond with the animals like no other; Whereas, most of the animals saved by Lesley are lost, homeless, unwanted or have been sadly relinquished because their owners can no longer care for them; Whereas, the days of this superhero are almost always dirty, smelly, tiring and heart wrenching, but at the same time they are the most enjoyable for Lesley; Whereas, Lesley has a goal in mind and that is to build a Cat Sanctuary where homeless kitties will have a safe place to roam and play; Whereas, you can support Lesley's compassionate vision by joining her at Boji Stone on March 31st, 2016 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to learn more about the project, donate to the cause and to celebrate her 25 years. Therefore, I, Chuck Haney, as Mayor of the City of Chillicothe, Do Hereby Proclaim March 31st, 2016 as "Lesley Ann Patek Day."

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