For the very first time in the history of Trinidad, Colorado a new animal shelter that is designed to save more lives, will be built. Your help is needed to ensure the shelter will be completed as soon as possible so that animal services will not be interrupted.
THROUGH YOUR SUPPORT, YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN AND LEAVE YOUR LASTING LEGACY FOR THE DECADES TO FOLLOW; HELPING THOUSANDS OF ANIMALS EACH YEAR.
The year was 1981. Ronald Reagan became President. A gallon of gas cost $1.25. Prince Charles & Lady Diana were married. Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in theaters. Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice on the US Supreme Court. The average cost of buying a brand new home was $78,200. And the Trinidad, Colorado dog pound was built.
It was different in 1981. The building which currently serves as the Trinidad, CO animal shelter was not built as an animal shelter – it was designed as a “dog pound” and was operated by the “dog catcher”. The largest room of the original 1981 structure was built to only accommodate 13 adult dogs and a handful of cats at the most. The four-room facility merely served to hold animals for a few short days before they were euthanized if not reclaimed or rehomed in time.
In 1998, Noah’s Ark Animal Welfare Association became a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The small group was entirely volunteer and foster home based. NAAWA volunteers would pull animals from the pound, welcome them into their homes, provide them with proper vet care, and find forever homes.
Then in 2001, wanting to provide better care and to save more lives, NAAWA entered into agreement with the City to lease the city-owned facility and to assume day-to-day operations. NAAWA made significant policy changes to end the pound mentality and begin humane animal sheltering.
Working with limited resources, though the years NAAWA improved the facility in ways it could. The original main building continues to house dogs, while a donated trailer home is now the cat shelter, a landscaped courtyard was added along with outdoor dog runs, and a custom shipping container provides additional usable indoor space currently being used as offices.
Despite the simple accommodations, eighteen years later the three-building campus continues to suffer a multitude of challenges which greatly contribute to inefficiency and inadequacy. In a nutshell, there are four critical problem areas with the current facility:
1. Visitor accommodations are poor. When there are many guests at NAAWA, space for indoor seating is cramped; the grounds are not easily accessible by all. The noise and odor levels throughout the campus can be unwelcoming for visitors. A lack of dedicated space for quiet meet-and-greet time between adopters and shelter animals creates a challenge for adopters to spend time one-on-one with a potential match.
2. Space is inadequate for the animal population and team members. At just 1,925 sq. ft. the current campus is cramped in accommodating offices, reception areas, 23 cat cages, 13 indoor dog kennels, exam areas, isolation kennels, laundry areas, food prep areas, and supply storage. In the last 5 years, an average of 1,860 animals are sheltered annually at NAAWA; which is up to five times the national average of animals housed by a typical animal shelter of its size. Cramped spaces also limit workspace, enrichment spaces, and break areas for staff and volunteers. The stream of interruptions and ceaseless multi-tasking, required because of the current configuration, takes its toll on staff and volunteers who struggle to complete their work within these challenging constraints. As population expands and animal service needs increase, the facility in its current configuration is simply tapped out.
3. It is unequipped to easily provide a healthy and safe environment for both animals and people. Short of opening doors or windows, there is very little fresh-air intake, which creates difficulty for odor and air-borne disease management. To reset kennels, all dogs must be moved to outdoor runs everyday while cleaning, even during inclement weather. Layout contributes to a stressful and noisy environment for all, inside and outside. The cat shelter trailer has no running water – staff hauls it in daily from the dog shelter building. Outdated chain link fencing is constantly being wired back together to prevent injury and expensive medical bills. Poor drainage from the adjacent soccer field causes regular flooding whenever it rains beyond a sprinkle; shelter staff often times wears irrigation boots to deal with the muddy conditions. Staff must be creative in creating isolation and holding areas for animals needing quarantine from the general census.
4. Major and costly repairs constantly plague the facility. Despite being patched up, the insufficient buildings continue to deteriorate. Concrete is crumbling in many places. Floors are becoming bouncier as time wears on. Frequent painting is required. Odor levels remain high regardless of how deeply and frequently the surfaces are cleaned. Rooms are dim with the outdated lighting systems. All which can be reasonably repaired or improved, are. However, concerns for major repairs, such as replacing the entire concrete floor in the dog kennel room or installing modern HVAC systems, have resulted in an impasse. Being the facility is inadequate in so many ways, major improvements and repair are simply infeasible.
In 2016, to tap emerging and important opportunities, the City of Trinidad sold the property the community's current animal shelter is located at. For the past few years, the city's animal shelter continues to exist at its current location thanks to the generosity of the new landowner along with an understanding that NAAWA will vacate the property as soon as a new animal shelter is built at a different location.
Noah’s Ark Animal Welfare Association’s goal is to collaborate with the City of Trinidad in constructing a new city-owned facility that will benefit both two- and four-legged friends.
For the community, NAAWA envisions an animal shelter that can accommodate a high volume of adoptions, which is one of the lynch pins to successfully saving more lives and reducing needless pet euthanasia. Their success will also be predicated on continuing an aggressive spay/neuter program, which has helped to reduce unwanted dogs and cats in the local population. By having the ability to expand the transfer program, the shelter will become one of the most successful and durable shelters in the region. These are all part of Noah’s Ark’s plan.
The new campus will be much more than just a shelter. NAAWA will continue the commitment as an open-admission shelter for the dogs and cats of Trinidad and Las Animas County who are sick, injured, abused, or abandoned, as well as helping whenever they can by reaching beyond geographical boundaries. They aim to bring education, volunteers, and services together under one roof; all while providing guidance and direction to animal lovers throughout the region.
Imagine the possibilities!
Guests will see and experience Noah’s Ark’s mission and vision throughout the facility and landscape which will feature increased light to improve animal welfare, as well as human interaction. The habitats will encourage socialization and support medical care. Bright cat suite rooms equipped with a variety of healthy stimulation options and calming safe spaces will help cats thrive and show-off their personalities. A community-orientated outdoor space will draw interest and complement the neighborhood. Natural and green building materials will match the environmental surroundings and allow operation in an earth-friendly way.
A cutting-edge mechanical system will purify the air, as state-of the art sanitary equipment disposes of waste intelligently and safely. Double-compartment kennels will allow for dogs to be house indoors in inclement weather. Larger kennels will maximize the health and well-being of shelter animals. Updated isolation wards will provide more comfort to the pets and will be much more easily sanitized, which will help decrease the spread of disease and reduce quarantine time for new admissions, allowing for a positive outcome to happen more quickly, significantly increasing the number of pets saved from euthanasia.
The low-cost vaccine and microchip clinic will be able to comfortably host more participants, thus helping reduce disease outbreak within the community. The classroom will be open for humane education, birthday parties, and other fun outreach events. Volunteers can gather and work together toward a cause they are passionate about. Potential adopters will be able to comfortably visit with a shelter pet. The halls will be filled with laughter and lots of love.
The City of Trinidad has constructed a 6,012 sq. ft building shell on East Main Street, at the former municipal swimming pool site. The building has been designated and designed to be the City’s new animal shelter which will serve the community for decades to come! Like before and as it is now, NAAWA will operate the city shelter for the years to come, NAAWA will have a long-term animal services contract and lease agreement with the City to ensure animals will receive the best care possible. NAAWA is tasked with collaborating to tenant finish the interior of the building. Thanks to generous donors throughout the years NAAWA, has nearly half of the required funds needed to finish construction of the interior. The remaining funds need to be raised so that the interior can be completed as soon as possible and animal services will continue without interruption.
The total cost of the remaining project = $712,000
Funds raised thus far toward the project = $342,000
Amount needed to complete the shelter in its entirety = $370,000
Noah’s Ark Animal Welfare Association, a 501c3 nonprofit organization hopes you will become a partner in animal welfare - please consider giving a gift toward making the world a better for shelter animals. The dream of building a modern and adequate animal shelter to serve the largest physical county in Colorado has been a long awaited dream for nearly 20 years…. each gift, no matter the size, can add up and make a dream finally come true.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more the history of animal welfare in Trinidad, Colorado and about this very special project Noah's Ark hopes to bring to the community.