Homeless pets could have new shelter in Brown’s Canyon | ParkRecord.com

Homeless pets could have new shelter in Brown’s Canyon

Patrick Parkinson Of the Record staff

For more than a year, the Summit County Friends of Animals organization has worked with officials in Wasatch and Summit counties to ensure that adoptable homeless pets are not euthanized.

But transporting dogs each day from Heber to Furburbia at Kimball Junction is expensive, and the store at Tanger Outlet Center is too small to house a vaccination clinic and spay-and-neuter facility. So, in January 60 acres near Brown’s Canyon Road could become home to Summit County’s newest animal rescue facility. Each month, Furburbia, an animal adoption agency the organization manages at the outlet mall, provides homes for about 50 stray animals. "We keep Wasatch County and Summit County no-kill counties," said Troy Stevens, president of Summit County Friends of Animals. "It is a vital link, almost guaranteeing that this will continue."

The organization, which is reportedly purchasing the land for around market rate from Silver Creek resident Charmian Wright, plans to close on the property Jan. 6. "The 60 acres will allow us to grow," Stevens said, adding that the center will likely be built in phases. "Our biggest need is a dog facility."

He expects to begin installing utilities on the land next spring and have a rescue house for dogs opened by fall of 2006. Similar, multi-million dollar facilities were recently built in Vail and Aspen, Stevens said. "We’re not alone. A lot of other organizations across the country are doing that," he said, adding, "Park City is a big dog town and cat town." The new rescue center will allow the organization to house pets that take longer to adopt, Friends of Animals board member Charlene Brewster said. "It is an interim step between the shelter and our Furburbia adoption center," Brewster said. Roughly 15 of the 60 acres are developable, however, horses could enjoy much of the hilly portions of the property, Stevens said. Friends of Animals worked closely with the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary near Kanab during the land purchase. Officials at the renowned rescue facility advised the local organization to purchase enough property. "It’s time," said Stevens. "This and a dog park are what are missing in this town." However, the organization is depending on donors and volunteers to construct the facility. "There are a lot of people who want animals taken care of here," Stevens said. "Park City is a community of givers and I think people put money where their compassion goes." Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds says county animal control officers work closely with Friends of Animals to rescue homeless pets. "We’ve got a great relationship with Friends of Animals and if they’re going to expand what they’re doing, we’re very much in support of that," Edmunds said. "No one wants to destroy these animals if they’re capable of going into a home and being a loving pet."

With the new facility, Friends of Animals will continue focusing on rescuing pets from shelters, Brewster said, adding that this year the organization helped facilitate the adoption of more than 600 dogs and cats. "Our relationships with Summit County and Wasatch County are very good. They want to be a no-kill facility," Stevens said. "It provides a great service for the community."