JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS) will have to find a new place to call home after the Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services decided not to renew its lease. FOTAS’ lease is scheduled to expire in June of 2023.
FOTAS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Jackson County Animal Shelter, has been operating out of the same building next to the shelter for more than a decade. Now that it will be forced to find a new home, the community is concerned about how this could impact animal care at the shelter.
Jackson County Health and Human Services says it needs FOTAS to relocate to make room for its own staff. It says it wants to continue its relationship with FOTAS and it appreciates all the work FOTAS does for the shelter and the animals.
"We really haven't altered any of our agreements with FOTAS,” said Stacy Brubaker, director of Jackson County Health and Human Services. “We did give them notice that we would not be extending their lease after June 30th, primarily because we have staff needs… we need to have space for our staff to be in."
Jackson County Health and Human Services also confirmed that it is conducting a feasibility study to get a better understanding of how much it costs to run the shelter, without any assistance from FOTAS.
"A new shelter is desperately needed but determining the cost should not include the neglect of the current animals in your care,” said Laurie Cuddy, who volunteers with FOTUS. Cuddy and several other volunteers brought their concerns to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners during its meeting Wednesday morning.
“My greatest concern is for those animals at the shelter who are sick or injured now left lingering, sometimes for weeks or months without receiving timely diagnosis and treatment," Cuddy said.
Jackson County Health and Human Services has clarified that even with the feasibility study underway, funding for the animal shelter from FOTAS can still be accepted as normal.
Brubaker says the end goal is to build a new shelter in Jackson County and wants to continue its relationship with FOTAS.
"It's something that we would like to see happen,” said Brubaker. “It's an old building and we've tried to make the most of it through renovations and improvements but at the end of the day, we want a better place for these animals to be cared for."