Couple helping critters in county's care
While the future of Yamhill County’s Animal Control facility is still in the air, one couple has stepped forward to offer their money and time to fix a building that has seen better days.
Donn Callahan and Nancy Woodworth, who recently retired from care ers in education, have since devoted their energies toward fixing up Yamhill County’s Animal control facility. The couple has said it would donate up to $100,000 in matching funds to repair the building.
“It’s a matter of pride. This building represents our county,” Callahan said. “And it’s a sad little building.”
While the county deliberates the fate of the building, Callahan and Woodworth have been making improvements at the site and cleaning it up.
They’ve already cleared back brush and improved the landscaping at the building. They also replaced a drainage pipe that backed up regularly and repainted and replaced the door.
A recent walk through with county officials put on display a number of needs for the building that houses the county’s stray dogs, including: a new roof, electrical work, a new ventilation system and tiling. While no official estimates have been made, fixing it would cost upwards of $75,000.
Capt. Tim Svenson, of the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the building, says the department is still waiting for direction from county commissioners.
Several options are possible, including closing the facility and contracting housing dogs at private kennels or partnering with the animal shelter in Newberg. Housing the dogs at private shelters could free up the opportunity for animal control officers to spend more time in the field.
On Thursday, Randy Freeman of Pets Stop Inn spoke to commissioners about possibly housing animals in his company’s facility.
With Newberg transferring its animal control duties to the county at the end of the month, it is yet to be seen how the extra dogs and responsibilities will be handled.
Callahan and Woodworth have lived in McMinnville for 25 years and Callahan taught at Cook Elementary School. He says they have been supporters of the Oregon Humane Society for more than 20 years.
They own two dogs adopted from shelters, along with cats, cows, donkeys, goats, peafowl, chicken and rabbits.
“We are animal people,” Callahan said.
Woodworth said they started working at the building in January and have been interested in improving the facility for some time. After retiring, they contacted the county and began putting their ideas into action.
“No one else seems to care about the building,” Woodworth said. “The people who work here do a great job, but the place needs some work.”
There has been no line item in the county budget for maintaining the building over the years.
Callahan said he would like to see some more community support for the building. He en visions new fencing and an area for potential adopters to visit with the dogs. He wants to make the building more inviting and less spartan.
“I wish we could find other people to help and contribute,” Callahan said. “There is so much here to achieve.”
With more money, volunteers and perhaps a community initiative, Callahan believes the building could be improved.
“We’re gonna make this building nice,” Callahan said. “If we had $200,000, we could make this place really nice.”