By Greg Price
The Taber Lost Paws Society is putting four feet forward in its attempt to raise awareness to help its four-legged friends.
Taber Lost Paws Society is a grassroots group of individuals from Taber and the surrounding area who are concerned about the welfare and care of animals in the community.
“Almost two years ago, (police chief) Graham Abela was looking for a different direction with the current animal shelter. The current shelter is in serious need of repair and is way too much for cost and is very small and doesn’t meet overall needs,” said Carolyn Terpstra, president of the Taber Lost Paws Society. “He was looking for a new direction and a group that would take it over. No one had come forward, so a group of us came together as a group of volunteers where we got a little more information on what he wanted for a group of people to do.”
The Taber Lost Paws Society was officially formed in November last year, where 10 people answered the call which has now ballooned to around 30, having recieved its registration status back in February.
Land has been secured for a new animal control facility in Taber’s northeast industrial area, east of the crematorium and near Safe Haven.
“It’s a nice spot. It’s away from the high residential areas so the dogs won’t bug people. It’s in the industrial area. I think it’s a really good location for us and there is room for expansion,” said Terpstra.
The town has also agreed to give the society $100,000 towards a capital expenditure for the new facility where now Taber Lost Paws Society is in full fundraising mode to top that off to try and maximize its build with all the necessary amenities for a proper facility which they hope will be built by fall 2019.
“There are costs for the building, all the equipment, operational costs and any supplies we may need. We have a very ambitious goal of fundraising of $160,000,” said Terpstra. “We won’t know the exact costs of the building. We are waiting for the town’s plans to come up. We need to increase the size from what we have now, with proper kennels, a proper quarantine area, an office for adoptions and fostering.”
Taber Lost Paws Society has been posting its many fundraising events on its Facebook page and has put out fundraising letters to approximately 200 individuals and businesses around Taber, with more businesses to get to.
The Taber Lost Paws Society will continue to work with the town bylaw officer where in incidences of dangerous dogs bylaw picks up, they will be assessed and volunteers will be educated on the difficult situations.
“The town bylaws still have a lot of control over that when it comes to dogs at large. We have town bylaws for a reason,” said Terpstra. “We will be partnering with the town and the bylaws. We won’t be sitting on our own in dealing with it (dangerous dogs etc.).”
For now, the Taber Lost Paws Society is concentrating on its fundraising as it looks to fill a niche with animal ownership in the area to try and give as much loving support as it can for its four-legged friends.
“There have been a few of us that have volunteered at the animal shelter in the past. It’s dogs at large that have not been picked up by their owner that will have to be neutered or spayed and vaccinated before they are adopted,” said Terpstra. “They have had surrenders in the past, where owners have not been able to look after it due to health or they don’t have the time to look after it to take it for walks and socialize the animal. Pet owners need to be made aware of what the responsibilities are in adopting or fostering dogs. That’s a big thing is socializing dogs with other dogs, so they don’t become aggressive.”
While the Taber Lost Paws Society is at around 30 members strong, it is always looking for new members as it embarks on its fundraising campaigns where many hands can make light work.
Fully run by volunteers, after the building is built, plans are to make fostering and adoption programs out of the facility, along with drawing on expertise from around the southern Alberta region.
“Working with other societies, if they are maximum capacity with their shelters and don’t have room for their dogs moving in, and we have the room, we can bring them in. But our animals will always have first priority for room,” said Terpstra. “We are hoping to have about 12 kennels to go with a quarantine area because that is important so that you are not spreading disease to other dogs. We want to get knowledge and training, and have people come in and perhaps do little seminars on basic dog obedience training, and working with aggressive dogs. We are trying to think of a bunch of different ideas and some of that will include education components to responsible animal ownership.”
Once the Taber Lost Paws Society have its costs nailed down, it will know how aggressive it needs to be in its fundraising goals. Although the Lost Paws Society does not have official charity status yet, people can be issued a tax receipt if the donations are made out to the Town of Taber with a memo for the Lost Paws Society. Also, donations can be made at http://www.atbcares.xom/donate with Town of Taber put in the dropbox, and in the comments put ‘Taber Lost Paws Society.’
“The Town of Taber has charitable status, we don’t have charitable status yet, so we can’t issue receipts,” said Terpstra. “ATB will match donations to a certain degree which is on our web page for donations. They will match a certain portion of it.”
Taber Lost Paws Society will be a regular fixture at the Farmer’s Market at the Taber Agri-Plex this year along with doing various barbecues, including one at the dog park.
For those interested in joining the Taber Lost Paws Society, they are welcome to attend meetings which go the last Thursday of every month at the Taber Police Station meeting room, downstairs at 7 p.m. Further inquiries can also be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting committee members.