The director of the Emmet County Animal Shelter told Estherville Rotarians Thursday about plans to put an animal shelter and a number of businesses in the Sixth Street Emporium building on South Sixth Street.
Kristy Henning, shelter director, has applied for a rezoning of the property from general business to highway commercial, with purchase pending approval.
Henning traced the history of establishing the shelter, starting in 2010, to currently. She said the shelter has gone from a foster-based service to an actual shelter, thanks to a dedicated cadre of 30-40 volunteers. "We've got a great network where people can help each other," said Henning, noting that the shelter works with communities not just locally but from throughout the region.
Formerly Northern Lumber Company, the building has had a variety of businesses. Henning plans for upstairs offices for her businesses and said five businesses were interested in leasing space downstairs.
The shelter would have a quarantine area where sick animals could be kept separate from the others for 10 days, Henning said. She plans for eight indoor/outdoor runs and that dogs would only be outside during supervised times. Henning said the entire property will be fenced and have two levels of privacy screening.
The shelter will continue to place animals in foster homes until new owners can be found. Henning said that will help provide information about the animals when they're adopted.
Henning noted a very thorough adoption process.
"Out adoptions are a lifetime commitment" Henning said, noting that if an adoption doesn't work out, the shelter will take the animal back.
Henning said over 50 percent of adoptions are from outside the area, with one party traveling from Dubuque twice to adopt pets.
Henning said the shelter also has an economic impact on the community when new pet owners buy pet supplies at local stores.