Questions Answered by the Four Non-Profit Organizations Who Put in Bids to Run the Wexford County Animal Shelter

On July 31st, Wexford County opened the bids from the non-profit groups who want to run their animal shelter. These groups who submitted proposals include CARE of Clare County, Pine Cone Farm, Our Promise Animal Rescue and Stephanie’s Rescue.

The information below (listed alphabetically) includes the same questions that were given to each group and a few at the end that pertain to the challenges their specific organization might face running the shelter. All answers are in their entirety and unedited. If there are questions unanswered, I will publish an update as new information becomes available.

CARE of Clare County 

Bid: $85,000 a year
Description: Sheltering services only
Length of contract: 2 year contract (2 year renewals)
Click here for proposal.

1. Explain what experience you have running an animal shelter or working as an ACO or shelter staff member. Are you a certified to be an ACO in Michigan? Describe any special skills, licensing, education or conferences you have attended that are related to running a rescue or animal shelter.

Answer: I do not have any certifications to run a shelter however I have been running my rescue since October 2012. Even though we are a new rescue, we have worked with many others in rescue and fostered for other rescue groups that have been doing rescue and are reputable around the state of Michigan. I have taken the time to learn from them and gather a network of people that I can call on at any point in time to ask questions from and get assistance for training that are already running no kill shelters and that are willing to help me learn and train for this be very much successful.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenges of running the Wexford County Animal Shelter?

Answer: I for see our biggest and greatest challenge to be keeping up with the numbers that were reported to the Dept. of Ag from the Shelter for the animals that were taken in for years past. The average they had taken in were 26 animals per week, I will have to make sure we adopt, foster or get out to rescue 26 animals per week in order to keep up with the numbers so we never face becoming over full. To do this I plan to hold outside adoption events, extend hours of operation throughout the week along with opening the facility to 7 days per week. I also plan to utilize our foster program that we already have in force and continue to work with the rescues that I have already networked with to pull from the shelter to help with this goal.

3. Is everyone allowed to be a member of your non-profit and have access to your financial records and vote on the board members? Will you hold monthly meetings? Please list your current board members and their titles. Who will be your shelter director? How many paid staff members will you have?

Yes, we welcome everyone to join our group. We welcome support. We are also happy to share our financial information. Our board members always vote on who is nominated onto our board and who isn’t. We hold monthly meetings unless there is some unforeseen issue that is out of our control then we will reschedule it. Our BOD members are as follows: Betty Lloyd – President, Michele Cope – Vice President, Dee Robinson – Secretary, Alyssa Lloyd – Treasurer, Wendy Smith – Transportation Coordinator, Alyssa Lloyd – Event Coordinator, Melody Stevens – Volunteer Coordinator, Dorie Williams & Katie Lorenz are working together for Foster Coordinators. Betty Lloyd (Myself) will be the Director of the facility) There will be only 1 paid staff person until we can get funding figured out to hire 1 more full time and 2 more part time staff. I will work as many hours as needed to help save these lives and do what is right by these animals.

4. Have you volunteered or rescued any animals from the shelter since January 2013? How many? Do you currently have a relationship with the shelter or have you had one in the past (i.e. pulling animals, volunteering, transporting, etc.)?

Answer: Yes, We have rescued 16 animals from Wexford Shelter that I can count and 2 that were from Wexford before hitting the shelter. We have found homes for 9 of them and 9 of them are in our foster homes still waiting on new forever homes. I do feel that I can call the shelter at any given time and speak with them about any animal that I may have a question about. I also try to give them updates here and there of what we are doing ie working with other rescues to pull from the shelter or trying to set up to pull and get transport set up etc. We also pulled 3 dogs that went to another rescue/shelter, paying for a HW test for 2 of them and setting up transport for them.

A wonderful Volunteer drove them up to the new location where they have since found their new loving forever homes. I myself transported a lovable female dog to a wonderful rescue who met up with me in Saginaw to pick her up and took her to Livonia. She has also since found her new forever home. Wendy Smith helped with Transport for Bella Blue (female pitbull) to go to PitBull parents down state to be rehabbed a few months back with the help of Dee Robinson. She is now in her loving forever new home.

In these numbers include 6 cats/kittens that we have pulled/vetted (Sylvia having a gunshot wound and Mittens having a sardoma) along with their normal vetting and placed them into loving foster homes. Mittens has been adopted by her wonderful foster mommy. We also rescued a kitten that was hit by a car and taken to Dr. Meyer, the couple that found him could not keep him so we took him in. He is also in a wonderful foster home.

5. The animal control ordinance was recently changed at a time when some of you may have already submitted your bids. Is the new ordinance going to have an effect on how you will operate and whether your bid is still viable?

Answer: Our bid will not change because of this, we will still take in cats/kittens and provide vetting and care for them. We will also find them new loving forever homes. We will make it work no matter what.

6. How long has your non-profit organization been in business? Are you an official 501©3 organization? What is your Federal ID#? Do you have a license to solicit funds in Michigan?

Answer: We have officially been founded since October 2012. We sent in our paperwork to IRS for our 501c3 at the end of June after waiting for our Articles of Incorporation that was established in Mid June. Once we received the final filed paperwork from this, we submitted our 501c3 1023 form to IRS.

7. Will your shelter be no-kill? What will your euthanasia policy be and will it be done by someone in your organization or a veterinarian?

Answer: We will be a NO KILL shelter, we will ONLY euthanize IF a vet recommends that an animals is suffering because of a disease or injury. If a dog is deemed unadoptable by a behavior specialist (Jackie Barnes) that has agreed to come up if needed to evaluate a dog in case of aggression issues or what not) then a vet will also be used at recommendation of the behavior specialist only. This will always be a last resort.

8. Do you intend to be an open-admission shelter? If you are, what will you do when you get full? Euthanize? Work with rescue groups? Host adoption promotions? Have waiting lists?

Answer: Yes, we will always take in animals. We will hold special events at the facility, outside the facility, utilize foster program, work with other rescues and have a waiting list if needed in order to save lives. We will NEVER euthanize for space. We will try to find out why people are surrendering their animals and see if we can help them (provide food, vetting, training, etc) if that is all it takes for them to keep their pet.

9. Do you intend to house both cats and dogs – and do you intend to do so regardless of county funding?

Answer: Yes, We WILL find funding whether the county provides it or not, we will get sponsors or start a membership program, something will be done….PERIOD!!

10. How much money does your non-profit currently have in your bank account?

Answer: $141.54 in checking

11. How do you intend to finance your non-profit as you run the shelter? (i.e. fundraising, county agreement, grants, etc.). What kind of fundraising ideas do you have for the future? Will you be able to continue running the shelter if the county millage isn’t renewed and there is no county funding?

Answer: Fundraising, County Agreement (hopefully for only first couple years then it will be self funded), grants. I have a ton of ideas for future fundraisers, doggie wash, battle of the bands, karaoke, bowling, another spaghetti dinner, yard sale/bake sale, etc . We will do our best to do what we can with the funds we have. With a sponsorship program, I think we can do almost anything.

12. Do you have any plans to expand the shelter building or make improvements such as a cattery?

Answer: YES! That place reminds me of a jail, it needs color, it needs a more friendly atmosphere feel, pet friendly for sure. New paint, more colors, animal theme paintings. I would like a painting of a rainbow bridge with some dogs and kitties in memory of all of those babies that lost their lives there. A “ Gone but NEVER forgotten” plaque or something on the wall above it or below it. I would love to make the HUGE garage that there is nothing going on with into a HUGE cat room! Take out the solid steel doors, put in some nice glass doors to open it up a bit but still provide safety and paint some trees on the walls, add some kitty climbers and tubes for them to crawl through. Just a nice big area for cats and kittens to play together and have a good time.

I would LOVE to turn the “now cat room” into a nursery for pregnant momma dogs or kitties. Just so they would have a quiet spot for their babies and themselves. Less stress this way for them all. Turn the kill room into quarantine room! Vaccinate on INTAKE not ADOPTION day! Add more dog runs outside! I would love to have more doggie runs so dogs can play fetch or enjoy the fresh air outside of those small kennels all day!

13. Are you aware of all state and federal laws/policies regarding animal laws/animal shelters and the current ordinances and policies of Wexford County? Do you have a history of good record-keeping and do you have a transparent organization so that the public can easily access information regarding your non-profit?

Answer: Yes I am familiar with all State/Federal/County laws, policies and procedures. We are totally open to sharing any info with any one. We started using Quicken for our financial information back in January or February. However, anyone is welcome to see or ask for anything they would like to have. We are an open book. Quicken allows us to print reports out for any period of time and we are happy to do so. Everything has a category that we thought would be easiest to use.

14. Do you have experience with county politics and working with county government? Because the county has a lot of negative history, what are your plans on bringing the community back to be supporters of the shelter? Do you intend to be pro-active and help the next animal control millage get passed?

Answer: Honestly, I had no experience with politics until this. Whether it be county, state or federal. I just want the community to have a facility that they can be proud of, the City of Cadillac has a beautiful town. They should be proud of their community along with being proud of their shelter and how their homeless animals are treated. I want to be able to give them that. I do plan to be very much active on helping getting the millage passed, I want to educate the community on the importance on what needs to be done to make this change happen and what they can do to help also.

15. How do you see yourself fitting into the Wexford County community? Are there any partnerships you feel you could envision or implement? If so, what are they?

Answer: I would LOVE to implement a teen program. I would love to work with the schools and get the schools involved and teens involved in volunteering. Educating them on how to train a dog or the importance of spay/neutering/vaccinating their animals. I want to educate the public on the importance of microchipping or just making sure their animals have some sort of ID tags on them in case their pets become lost. I want to be very much active and help the community any way I can. I want to be at every event possible to meet and greet people, letting them know that we are here if they need help or have any questions.

16. What hours are you planning to have the shelter open to visitors and volunteers?

Answer: My ultimate goal is 12pm to 7pm Monday – Friday and Saturday – Sunday 12pm – 5pm, Volunteers would be welcome any time 2 hours before, during and 1 hour after (to help clean before opening, help while open and get everyone settled in for the night after closing).

17. Will you screen potential adopters?

Answer: Yes! I may not be able to do home checks but according to Kyle I can ask for references

18. Will you ban known hoarders/individual rescuers not affiliated with rescue groups?

Answer: Yes! I want 501c3 or at least rescues that have their correct paperwork in order like their Articles of Incorp. Filed and working on their 501c3. I would require references from other rescues they have worked with along with their by laws, policies and procedures, copy of their foster application, adoption applications. ALL ANIMALS WILL BE SPAYED/NEUTERED BEFORE LEAVING OUR FACILITY.

19. Will you have a foster program?

Answer: Yes, already have on enforced and will continue to utilize it.

20. Will you work with rescue groups?

Answer: Yes! Have been and always will continue.

21. What is your vision for the Wexford County Animal Shelter and why did you bid on this contract?

Answer: My vision is for this to be a facility that the community of Wexford can be proud of. A No Kill facility! One that will no longer treat animals inhumanely, one that will be known for care and compassion. One that will always be known that does not give up so easy and will always think outside the box when it comes to the innocent lives of these babies in need that find themselves there of no fault of their own. I bid on this because I have faith in our group that we can make this happen, that we can be the voice for the voiceless, we can make changes and we can save lives!

22. Why is your organization the best choice to run the animal shelter?

Answer: Because we have been saving lives from there already, we have proven what we can do and we will continue to prove we can do it. We all have worked very hard to do what we have done and this is not the end for us whether we get it or not. We will continue to help save lives. The whole point of this is for the animals. Bottom line.

23. Questions for CARE only…

Not having run or worked at a shelter before, what are your plans on how to get up-to-speed about cleaning protocol, state regulations for shelters, and running the business end of things? Since your bid is so low, what are your plans on bringing more money into your organization to be able to keep the animal shelter going?

Answer: Kyle from Missaukee told me that he would be very happy to come in and train everyone IF we were chosen to get the shelter. We plan to work our butts off as hard as we can to build up as much money as we possibly can so IF we do get it then we can atleast get in their and start getting some animals vetted and adopted, the adoption money will be recirculated back into the funding to vet more animals. This just means we have to work extra hard at first which I do not mind!

Our Promise Animal Rescue
(out of Florida – but will relocate to Cadillac)
Bid: $147,440 for shelter services / $213,184 for shelter and ACO services combined (some fees returned to county if Our Promise gets the contract to do sheltering and animal control duties)
Description: Sheltering services only or sheltering and ACO services
Length of contract: Contract from Sept 1, 2013 through August 31, 2014 with yearly renewals.
Click here for proposal.

1. Explain what experience you have running an animal shelter or working as an ACO or shelter staff member. Are you a certified to be an ACO in Michigan? Describe any special skills, licensing, education or conferences you have attended that are related to running a rescue or animal shelter.

I began work in the animal shelter industry in 2005 and went on to form a no-kill non profit in 2010 at which time I took on the position of Executive Director from 2011-2013. I have worked both ends of the spectrum as far as shelter work.  I am a certified Animal Control Officer and often times was the only ACO on for months at a time 24hrs a day.  I was advised by the state of Mi that my hours as an ACO worked in Fl will carry over to Mi.  I am also a Certified Euthanasia Technician.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenges of running the Wexford County Animal Shelter?

I believe the biggest challenge will be to change the perception of what an animal shelter should be and change the bad feelings some people have about what may have gone on there.  An animal shelter in my opinion should be the closest thing to a “home” as it can be for the animals.

3. Is everyone allowed to be a member of your non-profit and have access to your financial records and vote on the board members? Will you hold monthly meetings? Please list your current board members and their titles. Who will be your shelter director? How many paid staff members will you have?

We have a Board of Directors who will vote on any new members brought in.  Our board will consist of both local and one Fl resident.  Any person will have access to our financial records.  We will hold monthly meetings.  I will take on the role of Executive Director and in addition will have one Animal Care Technician and, if animal control is included in contract, 2ACO’s.  If we are able financially to add an additional Animal Care Technician in the future we will do so.  I, as E.D., will work on the day to day operations of the shelter and that includes socialization of the animals as well as the sanitation of the structure.

4. Have you volunteered or rescued any animals from the shelter since January 2013? How many? Do you currently have a relationship with the shelter or have you had one in the past (i.e. pulling animals, volunteering, transporting, etc.)? 

I have not volunteered or rescued any animals from this shelter.  I have no relationship with anyone associated with the shelter which I believe will prove as an advantage in moving forward with a new perception of the shelter.  We cant change what may or may not have happened, but can strive to make it a much better place for the animals and visitors.

5. The animal control ordinance was recently changed at a time when some of you may have already submitted your bids. Is the new ordinance going to have an effect on how you will operate and whether your bid is still viable?

The new ordinance will have no affect on how the shelter is handled.  It will be run on a no-kill philosophy for every animal.

6. How long has your non-profit organization been in business? Are you an official 501©3 organization? What is your Federal ID#? Do you have a license to solicit funds in Michigan?

Our Promise was formed in July of 2013.  Our 501c3 is pending.  We will have all licenses necessary if the contract is awarded.  Our EIN is 46-3235528.

7. Will your shelter be no-kill? What will your euthanasia policy be and will it be done by someone in your organization or a veterinarian?

Our Promise Animal Rescue  (OPAR) is a no-kill shelter, meaning that we do not euthanize due to time or space constraints, reserving euthanasia for animals who are suffering mentally or physically, terminally ill, or considered dangerous to themselves, other animals, and/or humans.

8. Do you intend to be an open-admission shelter? If you are, what will you do when you get full? Euthanize? Work with rescue groups? Host adoption promotions? Have waiting lists?

Because we will be contracted by the County will will be an open-admission shelter.  There have been times in the past when I didn’t think we could possibly take one more animal, but we always made it work.  We will work with other rescues and absolutely host adoption programs.

9. Do you intend to house both cats and dogs – and do you intend to do so regardless of county funding?

We will hold both cats and dogs.

10. How much money does your non-profit currently have in your bank account?

11. How do you intend to finance your non-profit as you run the shelter? (i.e. fundraising, county agreement, grants, etc.). What kind of fundraising ideas do you have for the future? Will you be able to continue running the shelter if the county millage isn’t renewed and there is no county funding?

We will be active in a fundraising program.  In a 2year period with my previous non-profit we raised over $90,000.00 through such efforts.  We will also seek out animal shelter grants/programs.

12. Do you have any plans to expand the shelter building or make improvements such as a cattery?

I would love to have approval from the city to expand the building or add out buildings.  The cats brought in will all be tested for disease, altered and vaccinated in order for a communal cat structure to be used.

13. Are you aware of all state and federal laws/policies regarding animal laws/animal shelters and the current ordinances and policies of Wexford County? Do you have a history of good record-keeping and do you have a transparent organization so that the public can easily access information regarding your non-profit?

An open door policy with the county and community is very important to me.  I have  a history of good record keeping, ie., health records, controlled drug logs, medications needed and administered, euthanasia performed including the species/breed, dates/times and reason for euthanasia.  Our accounting will be handled by an outside agency.  I have been reviewing local animal control/shelter requirements and laws and will have policies/ordinances on hand to refer to.

14. Do you have experience with county politics and working with county government? Because the county has a lot of negative history, what are your plans on bringing the community back to be supporters of the shelter? Do you intend to be pro-active and help the next animal control millage get passed?

I have experience working with county politics and I believe that’s where my outside perspective may prove advantageous to both the county and community.  We will host an open house and set appointments for anyone wishing to visit the shelter outside of shelter hours.  I will do anything I can to see the next animal control millage approved.

15. How do you see yourself fitting into the Wexford County community? Are there any partnerships you feel you could envision or implement? If so, what are they? 

I grew up in Cadillac and have family there and in surrounding communities. I remember going to church when I was younger and begging my mom to drive by so I could see if the dogs were out.  A lot of the time they were not which I want to see changed.   I look forward to meeting other local groups and forging partnerships that will benefit the animals.

16. What hours are you planning to have the shelter open to visitors and volunteers?

The shelter will be 9:30am-5pm Tues-Fri and 10:30am-2pm Sat-Sun.  One of the most important aspects to the success of the shelter will be the welcoming of visitors and volunteers.

17. Will you screen potential adopters?

Adopters will go through a screening process, such as home checks, vet checks for previous and present pets as well as proof of home ownership or permission from a landlord.

18. Will you ban known hoarders/individual rescuers not affiliated with rescue groups?

We will not allow known hoarders/individual rescuers not affiliated with rescue groups access to the shelter.

19. Will you have a foster program?

We will have a foster program for the animals

20. Will you work with rescue groups?

We will work with rescue groups whenever possible.

21. What is your vision for the Wexford County Animal Shelter and why did you bid on this contract?

I would like to see this shelter transform into a home for these animals.  Myself and the shelter staff will act as there mothers/fathers and will welcome the community to take part in future of what I know could be a very special place that everyone will be proud of.

22. Why is your organization the best choice to run the animal shelter?

I believe having someone not previously associated with the politics of Wexford county or the shelter will be an advantage as it will allow concentration on the future of the shelter.  We will not be dwelling on what may have happened in the past.  I have experience with Animal Control and also rehabilitation for challenging animals.

23. Questions for Our Promise only…

What are your comments on being forced to resign from Shark in April 2013? What was your past relationship with Linda Gottwald with Pine Cone Farms? Are your current board members all from Florida? Will you keep those board members or allow Wexford county residents to be board members? 

I was devastated at being forced to resign from the company I formed. The community support on my behalf has been amazing.  I was employed by Linda Gottwald from 2005-2010.  Our Board members consist of people, both local and non-local.

Pine Cone Farm
of Traverse City 
Bid: $173,790 a year
Description: Sheltering services only
Length of contract: 3 year contract (yearly renewals)
Click here for proposal.

1. Explain what experience you have running an animal shelter or working as an ACO or shelter staff member. Are you a certified to be an ACO in Michigan? Describe any special skills, licensing, education or conferences you have attended that are related to running a rescue or animal shelter.  

Our current director, Linda Gottwald, has eleven years experience running three shelters and a spay clinic, and is certified in humane euthanasia.  She has no Michigan cert. ACO.  Our organization sponsored three animal law seminars open to public and other humane organizations.  Linda attended HSUS national conference and together we visited Best Friends sanctuary for a private conference with Director Gregory Castle.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenges of running the Wexford County Animal Shelter?

Uniting all the animal groups and parties with animal interests and harnessing their energy and enthusiasm with the goal of improving the future for animals in the county rather than dwelling on the past.

3. Is everyone allowed to be a member of your non-profit and have access to your financial records and vote on the board members? Will you hold monthly meetings? Please list your current board members and their titles. Who will be your shelter director? How many paid staff members will you have? 

We are not a member organization.  Our board members are elected by board members.  Our current members listed under Michigan incorporations and on bid.  We have bi-monthly meetings.  Our advisory board and meetings are open to the public.

We anticipate three paid staff members, including Lee Ann Mathews as director.

4. Have you volunteered or rescued any animals from the shelter since January 2013? How many? Do you currently have a relationship with the shelter or have you had one in the past (i.e. pulling animals, volunteering, transporting, etc.)?  

We have had four animals from Wexford County in 2013, none directly from Wexford County shelter.

5. The animal control ordinance was recently changed at a time when some of you may have already submitted your bids. Is the new ordinance going to have an effect on how you will operate and whether your bid is still viable?  (they weren’t sure of what Pet Friends Magazine was referring to in this question).

6. How long has your non-profit organization been in business? Are you an official 501©3 organization? What is your Federal ID#? Do you have a license to solicit funds in Michigan? 

Yes, we are official, tax ID 65-1134062, a Michigan based non-profit corporation with a license to solicit funds.

7. Will your shelter be no-kill? What will your euthanasia policy be and will it be done by someone in your organization or a veterinarian?  

Our shelter will be low-kill. Please see explanation in submitted bid, i.e. only seriously ill or dangerous animals will be euthanized.  We do not believe in nor would we euthanize healthy animals to make room in the shelter.  We are very active in seeking homes for animals in our care.

8. Do you intend to be an open-admission shelter? If you are, what will you do when you get full? Euthanize? Work with rescue groups? Host adoption promotions? Have waiting lists?

We would be an open admission shelter.  “Overflow” may be housed at Pine Cone Farm, and we will seek to work with other rescue groups and host adoption promotions.

9. Do you intend to house both cats and dogs – and do you intend to do so regardless of county funding?

Yes.

10. How much money does your non-profit currently have in your bank account? 

Approximately $140,000.

11. How do you intend to finance your non-profit as you run the shelter? (i.e. fundraising, county agreement, grants, etc.). What kind of fundraising ideas do you have for the future? Will you be able to continue running the shelter if the county millage isn’t renewed and there is no county funding? 

We have successfully fundraised in the past via grants, golf tournaments, dinners, etc.  But it is doubtful we would continue on the same scale if millage is not renewed.

12. Do you have any plans to expand the shelter building or make improvements such as a cattery?

Yes, we plan to add a cattery and play yards- we don’t like cages.

13. Are you aware of all state and federal laws/policies regarding animal laws/animal shelters and the current ordinances and policies of Wexford County? Do you have a history of good record-keeping and do you have a transparent organization so that the public can easily access information regarding your non-profit?

Yes, we are aware of all state and federal laws, we have extensive experience with keeping good records and would be happy to make available our records to the public.

14. Do you have experience with county politics and working with county government? Because the county has a lot of negative history, what are your plans on bringing the community back to be supporters of the shelter? Do you intend to be pro-active and help the next animal control millage get passed?  

We have previous experience with county politics and working with county government, and unfortunately, there is often a lot of negativity around animal issues.  We try to overcome that and bring people together by promoting volunteerism – our shelters thrive on volunteer help besides the paid staff.  We believe that creating an exceptional shelter will be the best action for passing a millage.

15. How do you see yourself fitting into the Wexford County community? Are there any partnerships you feel you could envision or implement? If so, what are they? 

Besides making an active effort to encourage volunteerism, we will pursue partnerships with community organzations and corporations.  We have successfully done this in the past with great results.

16. What hours are you planning to have the shelter open to visitors and volunteers?  Please see bid.

17. Will you screen potential adopters? Yes, of course.

18. Will you ban known hoarders/individual rescuers not affiliated with rescue groups?  

We will do thorough background checks on any persons applying for an animal.  All animals deserve a good, safe and healthy home.

19. Will you have a foster program? Possibly. We aren’t sure at this time.

20. Will you work with rescue groups? Absolutely.

21. What is your vision for the Wexford County Animal Shelter and why did you bid on this contract?

We anticipate a humane sanctuary that reaches out to the community, not only to house animals, but to educate the community as to the importance of spay/neuter and compassionate treatment of all animals.  To this end, we bid on this contract.

22. Why is your organization the best choice to run the animal shelter.  

This question is the type that fosters so much animosity between animal groups.  We do not choose to denigrate other groups.  We simply feel that we have done a tremendous job with our past and present shelters and would like to offer the same to Wexford County.

23. Questions for Pine Cone only (regarding SUFA lawsuit)…

Do you think your pending lawsuit or past issues that Linda Gottwald was involved with regarding misspent money in the audit should have any effect on whether you are awarded the shelter bid? What is the status of the current lawsuit? (Feel free to make any comments on the current lawsuit or the problems with the county).

SUFA board lawsuit was dismissed last month (July 24). We have no issues with Linda Gottwald and our board approved of every expenditure ever made during her tenure with SUFA. We had an independent audit done that showed no evidence of any misspending on her part. Ms. Gottwald’s skill in grant writing, her fund-raising abilities and excellent rapport with community leaders are why we enjoy our current excellent fiscal health and reputation. At this time, our board has one member who is a Florida resident, but we anticipate several changes in our board makeup. Very shortly, we will add additional members from Wexford County.

Stephanie’s Animal Rescue
out of Lake City
Bid: $124,400 for the first year; $104,400 for the second year
Description: Sheltering services only
Length of contract: Contract through December 31, 2014
Click here for proposal.

1. Explain what experience you have running an animal shelter or working as an ACO or shelter staff member. Are you a certified to be an ACO in Michigan? Describe any special skills, licensing, education or conferences you have attended that are related to running a rescue or animal shelter.

I have worked as a shelter supervisor and with several AC agencies all over the state. I do not plan to be an ACO, but know what the qualifications are. I have been in rescue work for nearly 20 yrs….I have always chosen to work with challenging breeds that no one else will.

2. What do you see as the biggest challenges of running the Wexford County Animal Shelter? 

Getting the community to see the changes and the shelter as a good place to come visit and that we help animals.

3. Is everyone allowed to be a member of your non-profit and have access to your financial records and vote on the board members? Will you hold monthly meetings? Please list your current board members and their titles. Who will be your shelter director? How many paid staff members will you have?

A rescue/shelter must have volunteers of course they are used to their potential…. Some like cats,  some like dogs, some have special traits hobbies we can utilize everyone!  I, Stephanie, would be the shelter director. All non-profits information is available to public.  We are thinking we can do it with just 2/3 staff.

4. Have you volunteered or rescued any animals from the shelter since January 2013? How many? Do you currently have a relationship with the shelter or have you had one in the past (i.e. pulling animals, volunteering, transporting, etc.)?

I do Bulli breed rescue, I have worked with many shelters and rescues, and have a good working relationship with them. Each has there own policies which we follow.

5. The animal control ordinance was recently changed at a time when some of you may have already submitted your bids. Is the new ordinance going to have an effect on how you will operate and whether your bid is still viable?

To my knowledge the ordinance revisions have not passed.

6. How long has your non-profit organization been in business? Are you an official 501©3 organization? What is your Federal ID#? Do you have a license to solicit funds in Michigan?

I have been involved with rescue most of my adult life 20 + yrs. I have always lived in either Wexford or Missaukee counties. My current rescue Stephanie’s Animal Rescue became a non-profit organization in February of 2013. We are 501c3 pending as currently the IRS is not assigning number as they are under investigation. Stephanie’s animal rescue EIN # 46-2040778.  Everything will retro back to tax exempt as soon as we get approval.

7. Will your shelter be no-kill? What will your euthanasia policy be and will it be done by someone in your organization or a veterinarian? 

I believe in limited-kill, only to be euthanized by my vet.

8. Do you intend to be an open-admission shelter? If you are, what will you do when you get full? Euthanize? Work with rescue groups? Host adoption promotions? Have waiting lists?

Too many ideas to list but we will be limited kill facility!

9. Do you intend to house both cats and dogs – and do you intend to do so regardless of county funding?

All of my proposal is based on county funding, we do intend to house both cats and dogs.

10. How much money does your non-profit currently have in your bank account?

11. How do you intend to finance your non-profit as you run the shelter? (i.e. fundraising, county agreement, grants, etc.). What kind of fundraising ideas do you have for the future? Will you be able to continue running the shelter if the county millage isn’t renewed and there is no county funding?

Of course we will be doing several fund raisers, apply for grants, and hoping to promote the improvements of the shelter to help get county mileage!

12. Do you have any plans to expand the shelter building or make improvements such as a cattery?

This is also addressed in my proposal, there will need to be an addition of dog quarantine and a cat quarantine area. We also are looking to turn one of the rooms into a cat play room for people to interact with cats and cats to have exercise. Also we are wanting a similar area for family’s meeting there new dog/puppy.

13. Are you aware of all state and federal laws/policies regarding animal laws/animal shelters and the current ordinances and policies of Wexford County? Do you have a history of good record-keeping and do you have a transparent organization so that the public can easily access information regarding your non-profit?

I am aware of  and follow all guidelines and laws, and will continue to do so if we are to take over operations. All records for all non-profit are sent in yearly and accessible to the public.

14. Do you have experience with county politics and working with county government? Because the county has a lot of negative history, what are your plans on bringing the community back to be supporters of the shelter? Do you intend to be pro-active and help the next animal control millage get passed?

15. How do you see yourself fitting into the Wexford County community? Are there any partnerships you feel you could envision or implement? If so, what are they?

I have lived in and near wexford county for 40 yrs, I have friends, family, and many acquaintances, and I feel I can pull everyone together to have a GREAT shelter!

16. What hours are you planning to have the shelter open to visitors and volunteers?

Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm.

17. Will you screen potential adopters?

ABSOLUTELY as I do now our 3 step adoption policy will continue!

18. Will you ban known hoarders/individual rescuers not affiliated with rescue groups?

ALL group will be investigated and certain policies will need to be followed before we release to them.

19. Will you have a foster program?

Yes currently I have less than 10 approved foster homes. I’m hoping to expand. We do have a process to get people qualified to be my foster.

20. Will you work with rescue groups?

ABSOLUTELY!!  This can not work w/o networking with other shelters/rescues. This will be a huge part of the change.

21. What is your vision for the Wexford County Animal Shelter and why did you bid on this contract?

It is all about the animals, I know I can make a huge difference for them. Of course I will continue on my path that i currently travel if not awarded this bid.

22. Why is your organization the best choice to run the animal shelter?

I am from this area, have lots of experience And have lots of networking ability to help make this a success.

23. Questions for Stephanie’s Rescue only…

Not having run or worked at a shelter before, what are your plans on how to get up-to-speed about cleaning protocol, state regulations for shelters and running the business end of things? It looks like you are a dog rescue. What is your experience taking care of cats and knowing what diseases to look out for and treat?

I was a shelter supervisor for a no-kill facility, I am aware of and have printed copies of all state regulations, recommendations, and protocols.  We are primarily a dog rescue breed specific….bulli’s.  We will be working hand and hand with vets for health issues and I have always owned cats personally and enjoy them.

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