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Feline Sanctuary Plans

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
By BRITTANY TUTT
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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