When the Gazette visited the Duke Memorial Redwood Area Animal Shelter on Tuesday afternoon, there were seven dogs, 10 kittens, and 17 adult cats on the premises, waiting to be adopted.
“That could all change by seven this evening,” said Kratz. “It’s amazing. People will come in to adopt a kitten, then leave with the kitten and a full-grown cat, too.”
In the past six months, 191 animals have been adopted out of the Redwood Falls facility, including one bird and one rabbit.
That doesn’t include the five kittens already spoken for as of Tuesday afternoon.
“Every one of these animals, something happened to bring them here,” said Kratz.
When the new shelter opened, the Friends of the Animal shelter were concerned about how they would get the funds to pay for it, where they would find enough support to pay for food for the animals.
Turns out, it wasn’t a problem.
“People have been absolutely fabulous,” said Teri Kratz, of the animal shelter’s board.
“When we need food, we put it on our Facebook page, and are flooded with dog and cat food. In two weeks we’ll get enough food to last us a month.
“The passion of the people who come out here to work is amazing. I put out a call I needed cleaning, and we had a crew of kids — well, they were in their 20s — out here that night.”
The Friends of the Animal Shelter’s first priority was making the interior safe and warm enough for the animals to live in.
The next priority was, well, basically everything else — tables and chairs for the volunteers, landscaping, etc.
“We have so many volunteers now. Our volunteers are our biggest asset. One day we had 10 volunteers to walk four dogs,” said Kratz.
Nevertheless, it all depends on what volunteers are available to work which hours. Some days there aren’t any volunteers available — hence the need for more volunteers able to come in on some days.
So far in May, the shelter has had 23 drop-in volunteers in addition to those scheduled through Redwood County Volunteers.
Almost everything in the facility has been donated, either directly or through fundraising efforts by local volunteers.Ridgewater Veterinary technicians visit once a month, last time brought students visiting from Denmark.
Thanks to Internet pet-finding sites, the shelter gets calls from people interested in adopting nearly every day.
“Some days I’ll have 10 calls on the answering machine,” said Kratz.
In the past six months, the Redwood Falls animal shelter has had dogs and cats adopted all the way out to the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, and even Oklahoma.
Page 2 of 2 - “Many of our adoptions go up to the Twin Cities,” said Kratz. “Up there a kitten can cost up to $170. Here they’re only $75. People will drive all the way out here to find a cat.”
One thing the Redwood Falls facility doesn’t do — euthanize animals if they stay a long time.
“We keep them until they find a home,” said Kratz.
Despite the shelter’s good fortune in finding funds and volunteers in the area, the need is constant.
“We can always use more funding, if people want to think of us,” Kratz said, “and if you come out to volunteer, we will put you to work.”