Taber Lost Paws Society opens new dog shelter backed by massive community support

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WATCH ABOVE: What started as a community goal to replace an aging animal shelter nearly three years ago has resulted in the opening of a new facility. Danica Ferris has more on the Taber Lost Paws Society. – Feb 17, 2021

What started as a community goal to replace an aging animal shelter has resulted in a new permanent home for the Taber Lost Paws Society.

TLPS opened the doors to its new dog shelter on Friday, and on Tuesday night it had its first furry visitor, a pup who was picked up by his owners the next morning.

Read more: Lethbridge Animal Services asks public for help in month-long stray dog case

The organization’s president Carolyn Terpstra said the new shelter had a price tag of about $260,000, and the group was able to reach that thanks to overwhelming support from all corners of the community.

“We started the society to build a brand new shelter with the help of our partners — the Town of Taber and Taber Police Service — and we’ve been actively fundraising ever since,” Terpstra said.

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“We’re still waiting for final numbers, but we’re pretty close to that ($260,000). We fundraised well over $140,000, not including the $100,000 that the Town (of Taber) has given us on top of that.”

Read more: Lethbridge sees surge in abandoned, surrendered pets as adoption numbers rise

Taber’s chief of police Graham Abela said when TPS took over the town’s animal control responsibilities about five years ago, it became clear that a new shelter was needed in the community.

TPS aided the Lost Paws Society over the last two-and-a-half years as the group tried to get off the ground.

“I guess what you see now is the culmination of those efforts,” Abela said.

“We got together about three years ago, started broaching the subject with council, and they knew that they were going to have to make a capital investment in order to assist us, and they did that. They provided us with the land and some funds.”

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The facility can house up to 12 dogs at a time, with six kennels intended for animal control purposes, and the other six for adopting dogs out.

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Terpstra said when a dog that’s lost or found is brought in by bylaw, it can be held for up to five days.

“If the owners never claim the dog, then it becomes a Lost Paws Society dog,” she said.

Abela said the format is a win-win for all involved.

“We’ve got a situation where, economically, we’ve been able to create a building, we’ve got a group of volunteers that are willing to involve time and effort in assisting with looking after the dogs that we take in there under animal control options — like under bylaw — but the end result being fostering and adoption programming,” he said.

Read more: Should you adopt a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The society’s executive board is now focused on gathering more volunteers and scheduling them to feed and walk the dogs every few hours. More information is available on the Taber Lost Paws Society Facebook page.

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