When Don Brown noticed a lot of newspaper articles, Facebook posts and emails in the last few years addressing the subject of the need for another no-kill animal shelter in the Leavenworth area he realized this was a subject that people in the community were passionate about - and he decided to take action.

By RIMSIE MCCONIGA
rmcconiga@leavenworthtimes.com


When Don Brown noticed a lot of newspaper articles, Facebook posts and emails in the last few years addressing the subject of the need for another no-kill animal shelter in the Leavenworth area he realized this was a subject that people in the community were passionate about - and he decided to take action.
He and his wife Sherry are now firmly committed to opening a no-kill shelter at Shawnee Street and Broadway where Every Era is located.
With a daunting amount of remodeling to do, the Browns are determined to make this vision reality by the end of 2018.


The idea for a no-kill shelter began when the Browns opened HOPE for Cats in 2014 in their business, Kansas County Store in downtown Leavenworth.
“Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society encouraged me to open it and with their financial help, the room was built,” says Don. “ Adoptions began almost immediately.  With the success of “ HOPE for Cats,” it only proved to me that there is a need for more pet rescue in our community.”
The cats residing at HOPE for Cats seem to know they are in a safe place. While the space is not large, it is filled with cat beds, cat trees and toys and the cats get along well and seem to know they are in a safe place.
“They are provided with enough areas to ‘get away from it all’ so that there is seldom any fussing or fighting,” says Don.  HOPE for Cats has re-homed about 150 cats since the beginning.”
When the Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society began the free spay/neuter program Andrea Mamaux was the president of the organization.


“We are all fortunate that she had the vision and the foresight to start this program,” says Don. “Andrea has a strong passion for the general welfare of animals. There can be no doubt  that more than 14,000 spay and neuters since 2014 have made a huge difference in the number of unplanned litters.  But it is obvious that the battle has not been won.  As long as there are full shelters in the area, the HOPE Spay & Neuter  clinic still has work to do.  There has been a decline in the pet numbers and we hope to see even more of a decline as we continue to educate the public, and spay and neuter.”


HOPE, Inc. is a small 501c3, Not-For-Profit organization and HOPE needs a great deal of financial support from others. The building that the new no-kill shelter will be located in is about 150 years old and needs to be modernized and made into a functional and successful rescue.
Originally built for a railroad freight depot, the building is very sound, but modernization will take a lot of work. Plumbing needs to be installed, concrete floors leveled, exercise runs added, and more. When the remodeling is completed the building should have a capacity to house 35-40 pets comfortably.
 “Making it into a successful rescue will happen, but the more that the people in our pet community contribute, the better it will be,” says Don. “Sherry and I have agreed to donate the use of more than 5,000 square feet of the building for HOPE, Inc. to build a rescue for pets.  Most of the remodeling will need to be done by local contractors. We feel that by doing this and donating more than $35,000 of our own money, it should be clear to all that we are serious and willing to do what it takes to get this job done.”
The Browns plan to utilize two areas in the remodeled building where potential adopters can spend quality time with the pets they are considering adopting.


The areas will have furniture, a television and a refrigerator to create a home-like atmosphere where the people and animals can meet and get acquainted without hurry or stress.
The north side of the building will accommodate several outside runs to give the dogs and future human companions the opportunity to play and romp together and learn how to interact.


“Having this no-kill pet rescue open and operating has been a nagging desire of mine for a long time,” says Don. “Now with the support and help of our new board of directors we can see it happen.  Seeing pets come in and out will give me a great deal of personal satisfaction.  They will be coming in from a hopeless, homeless environment and going out to good homes that will give these pets the security and safety that they deserve. From the beginning of our plan, HOPE Pet Rescue has  intended to help as many pets as possible to get out of bad situations.  There are a great number of dogs and cats “found” in the country.  There are people that need to re-home pets because of a change in their personal situations like divorce, illness, or death in the family.  We will probably not be able to take in every one of the animals that comes to us, but we will help as many as we can. There could be intake restrictions because of space, available volunteers, or finances.  But be assured that we will make every effort to help improve the lives of as many pets as possible.”


Don says the community is fortunate to have Leavenworth Animal Control in their new building and Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society and HOPE, Inc. working in harmony to expand and improve the care and welfare of the community’s pets.
He believes cooperation among these groups is beneficial to everyone, and he is grateful to be working with them.
The Leavenworth community has come together in many ways to help residents and animals in need. Don believes the generosity and determination of local residents to work together continues to make Leavenworth a shining example of how empathy and generosity can relieve the hardships for many.