Animal shelter celebrates grand opening

Posted 4/27/21

While a crowd started to fill the parking lot of the brand spanking new Park County Animal Shelter, executive director Megan McLean couldn’t stop smiling.

“It’s been a long time …

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Animal shelter celebrates grand opening


While a crowd started to fill the parking lot of the brand spanking new Park County Animal Shelter, executive director Megan McLean couldn’t stop smiling.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said, peeking out the front door at the supporters lined up — eager to get in for their first look at the bright facility during its grand opening.

It marked the beginning of a dream the board of directors, employees and supporters have had for years. All the fundraising, planning and work that led to the day was laborious, but it all paid off Saturday. Even the weather cooperated, giving guests a pleasant hike to the party, as supporters were forced to park on nearby surface roads due to their numbers on the sunny day.

“It turns out like in a week full of really crappy weather, we got the good day,” McLean said, finally realizing all the worry was for nothing.

Before former board president Ken Markert and fundraiser Lani Snyder used a giant pair of scissors to cut the red ribbon, Markert reminded the crowd of the long struggle to move from the former facility just over the hill east of Cody. Markert led the shelter’s seven-year capital campaign, though he term-limited out of the board prior to the special day.

“It is fitting that this new shelter was designed as an adoption center with features that make adoption even easier,” he said. “For one thing, the building is inviting, and allows you to easily see the available pets.”

This facility includes new animal housing areas that meet current humane standards; dedicated medical areas for the treatment and quarantine of animals; safe, sanitary and climate-controlled kennels; plenty of room for enjoying play time outdoors; and private areas for those looking to adopt an animal to get better acquainted prior to making a decision.

“There are many other improvements — too many to mention,” Markert said. “But know this: Starting today we have a state-of-the-art facility that lets us better fulfill our mission.”

The $2.2 million shelter more than doubles the size of the previous shelter. The pets have ample room for playtime together, or to be alone if they wish. Even employees and volunteers have extra space for offices and a dedicated break room.

The old space had barely enough room for visitors to have elbow room at the front counter, dozens of cats were forced to share a single room and every available corner was stacked with supplies. Now there’s even a new supply shed that helps keep the ample space of the new building inviting to all; the front desk is filled with light and enough room to stay socially distant while visiting.

The animals seemed equally excited. King, a mostly white pup with a happy face, wiggled in delight as he saw the small, COVID-friendly tours making their way through the halls of the shelter. Cats took up positions on ledges near giant picture windows to watch the festivities.

Lacey Bangart and her 5-year-old daughter Brynley were at the front of the line after the speeches, hoping to see the available dogs. Sadly, the family pet is getting old, Lacey said, so they’re looking for a new friend. Brynley was too engrossed with the puppies to notice the improved facilities, only agreeing that it was “cool” before turning her attention to the line of hopeful canines wagging their tails and gleefully greeting happy visitors.

The next event at the shelter is the “Chip it, Chip it Good” microchip clinic on Saturday. In honor of National Chip Your Pet Month, they are offering the service for $25. The facility is open for adoptions and visits Monday through Saturday from noon to 5:30 p.m.