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'We’re full': Kootenai Humane Society at full capacity

Even though the shelter is running near capacity, it accepts transfers because that prevents dogs from being put down.
Credit: CDA Press

HAYDEN, Idaho — Dogs from Texas, California and Worley have pushed the Kootenai Humane Society to canine capacity.

“We’re full,” said Vicky Nelson, KHS development director.

Which makes things a bit chaotic, but staff handles whatever comes their way with grace.

“You never know around here what's going to happen,” Nelson said.

The shelter has just over 50 dogs, including some from a hoarding situation in Worley. About 20 dogs were discovered in a home after a man was recently evicted from a property,  as reported by our news partner, The Coeur d'Alene Press.

KHS received six of the dogs, including chihuahuas and three of a hairless breed known as a Chinese Crested Dog.

The middle-aged dogs were generally in good condition, but there were some dental needs, and one had to have an eye removed due to an infection, Nelson said.

Nelson said the hairless dogs were the first of their kind at KHS in her decade with the nonprofit.

A rescue flight from Texas also recently delivered about 10 dogs, a mix of labs, heelers and hounds, that were about to be euthanized. KHS is a no-kill shelter.

Another flight from Los Angeles arrived with 11 dogs, including many puppies.

The next flight with dogs, more from Los Angeles, isn’t scheduled until May 25.

Even though the shelter is running near capacity, it accepts transfers because that prevents dogs from being put down. KHS also enjoys great success finding them homes.

This year, KHS has accepted close to 200 animal transfers, and has adopted out a total of 280 dogs and 132 cats.

Crowded conditions aren't unusual at the aging shelter on the north end of Ramsey Road, Nelson said. Dogs are sharing kennels when possible and volunteers are walking them often, as life for a dog in a crowded kennel can be stressful.

Meantime, KHS is continuing to raise money for its new home under construction on 10 acres west of the Coeur d'Alene Airport on Atlas Road.

The new shelter, at more than 20,000 square feet, will mean better conditions and more opportunities to help pets, Nelson said.

KHS has raised about $5.5 million toward the goal of $8 million. If donations come up short, it will take out a bank loan, which it would rather avoid, Nelson said.

"We just need a few more to step up and help us get to that $8 million goal,” she said.

KHS has to move. It leases land from the Coeur d’Alene Airport, which may extend the runway and would need the land where the shelter sits.

In coming years, the city of Hayden plans to connect Ramsey Road to Lancaster Avenue, which will increase traffic flow next to the shelter.

“We’re kind of running out of time,” Nelson said.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 News partner. For more news from our partners, click here.

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