Animal shelter launches building fundraiser this Christmas season

Laws Fundraiser
Photo submitted.
Posted on: November 13, 2018

Stacey Roy

There is no better present to give our feline friends than a warm place to rest their heads this Christmas morning.

That is what a $50,000 building campaign launched on (under the name laws shelter rebuild) aims to achieve. The fundraiser was launched by Gerry Van Loon, president of the Lanark Animal Welfare Society (LAWS) Nov. 7 and received $500 within the first few days. The shelter is currently in the midst of constructing a permanent addition to their building between Smiths Falls and Perth with the expectation that it will be complete by the end of December.

“We’ll have a new half a building”, said Van Loon.

The project was necessary due to persistent frozen pipes and water dishes caused by lack of insulation in the old additions, which were nothing more than former school portables. The 2017-2018 winter season was the last time shelter cats will experience these conditions. The building project currently has footings poured and the walls framed as of Nov. 16.

“We’re hoping to have it kind of enclosed by the end of the month”, Van Loon said during a November phone interview.

When it is complete, the new addition will usher in a new era of shelter care for the roughly 600 cats a year that come through their doors. Van Loon said the board is passionate about moving away from cats in cages to a free space where cats can roam around and enjoy cat runs at will. This would include plans to have a fenced in roof top cat run that would allow shelter cats to get some fresh air whenever they wish.

Last year’s successful fundraiser brought in $30,000 towards this goal, which the board hoped would cover the cost of the addition with the help of volunteer labour. However, a number of volunteers have dropped out requiring additional costs of $20,000 just to cover the necessary labour. Add to this the discovery of mold and rot under the window sills of the existing shelter that will be connecting to the new addition and the unplanned need to replace a seized water pump, and the need to raise an additional $50,000 is self explanatory.

“It’s one thing after another”, Van Loon said.

The fundraising campaign will be ongoing until the end of January when all the bills for the addition will be paid out. LAWS is one of the few no-kill shelters in the area that serves all of Lanark County, Lombardy and Smiths Falls. There are currently 40 cats who are at the shelter during construction, but this number swells to 80 or 90 that are typically housed at any given time. What pet wouldn’t share their warm bed if they could? The LAWS animal shelter fundraiser is a perfect present for any family’s furry friend to receive this Christmas.