Couple seeks city funding for pet shelter


A Clear Lake couple is asking the City of Clear Lake to help fund a no-kill animal shelter.

Debbie and Chuck Kern, owners of The Animal House in Clear Lake, have formed “Patriots for Pets Rescue and Shelter,” a 501©(3) non-profit corporation.  They intend to build a new 6,000 square foot building capable of housing approximately 75 homeless dogs and cats.  Debbie Kern told the Council Monday they have surveyed and subdivided the land where their business is located on North 40th Street.  They intend to donate the land to Patriots for Pets for construction of a no-kill animal rescue and shelter building.

They have begun clearing land south of their boarding facility for the rescue and shelter building.  They estimate the cost of the new building to be $950,000.

The 40x150 foot structure would have 25 indoor/outdoor runs and quarantine areas for dogs, cats and litters left at the shelter.  Kern told the Council the shelter will relieve the current need for persons, as well as cities like Clear Lake, to place homeless animals.  Currently the Humane Society of North Iowa, which is also a no-kill facility, has a three to six-month waiting list to surrender animals that the owners can no longer keep, she said.

Kern entered the workshop meeting with the Council under the impression that the City of Clear Lake had contributed $100,000 to the Humane Society of North Iowa and was asking for at least that amount of funding from the city.  However, City Administrator Scott Flory stated no city money was used for the HSNI.  

The City of Clear Lake has paid $20,000 over five years for animal control.  Currently if police pick up a stray animal it is taken to a local veterinarian.  If it is reclaimed, the owner pays for the shots and boarding the veterinarian provided.  If the animal is not re-claimed, it is euthanized after one week and the City is billed for cost ensued by the veterinarian.

Kern told the Council Patriots for Pets would eliminated euthanization of animals, unless an abandoned animal was deemed unfit to be adopted.  

She guaranteed the city would have a location to take a stray animal at any time of day, seven days a week.

“We will completely handle the City’s animal control issues with no annual fees or other fees,” Kern said in response to a question from a Council member.   She said there aren’t facilities available to handle the overpopulation.  “If people aren’t able to surrender an animal, because there’s no room for it, they dump it somewhere and it becomes a problem for the City,” she said.

Patriots for Pets began operations May 1, working out of the Kerns’ Animal House location. To date, 28 animals have been adopted.  She said she also hopes to offer discounted vaccination clinics, as well as spay and neuter opportunities at discounted prices.  

“We are just starting our funding and have begin seeking support from businesses in the community.  You (City) are on the front end of our fundraising efforts,” said Kern.

The Council said it will communicate with the Kerns through City Administrator Scott Flory.  He said the matter will likely come back before the Council at budget time later this year. 

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