Olympic Peninsula Humane Society purchases property for ‘Kitty City’

Formerly disc golf course, church, building will now house cats, kittens, small animals

SEQUIM — Some of the Olympic Peninsula’s furry friends are getting new digs in Sequim.

Officials with the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society announced last week the acquisition of a 7,200-square-foot building just west of Sequim that will house cats, kittens, small critters and veterinary services.

The addition, dubbed Kitty City, comes at an opportune time: As a previous condition of OPHS buying its existing property on Old Olympic Highway in Port Angeles, Clallam County officials set a requirement that three modular buildings that currently hold administration, veterinary services and felines to be removed by 2024.

Humane society officials in 2019 began plans for a new building on the existing Old Olympic Highway property, but after working with an architectural firm to begin the initial design phase, the rapidly escalating costs made the overall price tag unmanageable, OPHS executive director Luanne Hinkle said.

Fortunately for the nonprofit, OPHS received a bequest from the McKay family to provide what was estimated to be half the price tag of the new building. Subsequent bequests were earmarked for a new building and invested, Hinkle said.

“We decided to raise the rest of the funds needed from our community of animal lovers with a launch party at the annual Meowgaritas and Mutts event that was to be held in April 2020,” Hinkle said.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, wiping out not only the 2020 fundraiser but the 2021 Meowgaritas and Mutts event as well. The two annual events were estimated to bring in $400,000 to OPHS, Hinkle said.

But OPHS was able to purchase its new building — located at 91 Boyce Road, on the south side of U.S. Highway 101 a bit west of Carlsborg — in cash from bequeathed funds.

Hinkle said it would have likely cost OPHS about $2 million for a new building and land.

The county approved the use and the property closed escrow on Kitty City on March 5, Hinkle said.

“We’ll do an open house at some point, depending on regulations,” she said.

Now OPHS will have two campuses, one for dog adoptions and one for cats, kittens and other small animals.

OPHS’s 9.5-acre facility on Old Olympic features a 5,500-square-foot Bark House and has room to expand, Hinkle said.

“We should be able (to grow) as much as the community needs,” she said. “We might have horses here, who knows?”

But before then, there’s still plenty of work to do on the new Kitty City, Hinkle noted, and associated costs.

Renovation funds

Because the building — formerly Calvary Chapel Sequim and disc golf course in recent years — has been unused for quite some time, “it needs TLC for sure,” Hinkle said.

That includes a new heating and cooling system (HVAC), some minor roof repairs, several interior and exterior repairs including paint, laundry machines, special ultraviolet lighting for controlling germs, and build-outs for cat roaming rooms.

Additionally, existing vet services has old, hand-me-down equipment sorely in need of replacement within an 850-square-foot trailer, and because OPHS hopes to provide low-cost spay/neuter services in the future, the organization is looking for upgrades there, Hinkle said.

OPHS has funded several spay/neuter clinics for low-income individuals in recent months, but those are limited by time and availability of funds and local veterinarians.

Those items will run OPHS about $350,000, Hinkle said. While the expenses are significant, the organization wouldn’t have been able to expand like this for years without the McKay donation and others, she said.

See items needed at OPHumaneSociety.org/New-Sequim-Building.

Things haven’t slowed much for OPHS during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hinkle said. The organization has taken in a number of animals, particularly from the relatively high-kill shelter state of California.

“We got very low on dogs during first part of COVID,” Hinkle said, as few as six dogs, “(but) sometimes we were getting close to capacity,” Hinkle said.

“The turnover is good still.”

Keeping the dog numbers low is good for a number of reasons, particularly for the canines who are long-term residents, she said.

“As good as we try to make it for the animals, they’re around a lot of others, and there’s a lot of anxiety among other animals,” Hinkle said.

OPHS is looking to push more animal fostering in coming weeks, Hinkle said.

“We haven’t done a lot of that before,” she said. “Kitten season right around the corner, so we’ll foster for kittens and cats.”

The organization also sees a professional trainer come in about three times a week to work with the hard-to-adopt dogs, looking to help them be ready for their new home, she said.

“Most of the them haven’t had any training,” Hinkle said.

In coming months, OPHS would like to offer on-site community dog training sessions, she said.

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

More in News

Pictured, from left, are Mary Kelso, Jane Marks, Barbara Silva and Linda Cooper.
School donation

The Port Angeles Garden Club donated $800 to the Crescent School in… Continue reading

Clayton Hergert, 2, along with is mother, Mandy Hergert of Port Angeles, sit at the bow of a U.S. Coast Guard response boat on display during Saturday’s Healthy Kids Day at the Port Angeles YMCA. The event, hosted by all three Olympic Peninsula YMCA branches, featured children’s activities designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and a love for physical activity. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Captain on deck

Clayton Hergert, 2, along with is mother, Mandy Hergert of Port Angeles,… Continue reading

Clallam County Fire District 3 commissioners agreed on April 2 to seek a real estate market analysis for Lost Mountain Station 36 after multiple attempts to seek volunteers to keep the station open. They’ll consider selling it and using funds for emergency supplies in the area, and offsetting construction costs for a new Carlsborg fire station. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Fire District to seek market analysis for station

Proceeds could help build new building in Carlsborg

John McKenzie. (Clallam County Fire District 3)
Sequim to bring back fire, safety inspections

Routine visits out of rotation for almost a year

Isaac Wendel, 11, left, and his mother Jennie Wendel of Port Angeles, comb the beach on the inside of Ediz Hook in Port Angeles on Saturday as part of a cleanup effort hosted by Washington CoastSavers in honor of Earth Day. Hundreds of volunteers fanned out across numerous beaches on Washington’s Pacific Coast and along the Strait of Juan de Fuca to collect trash and other unwanted debris. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Earth Day cleanup

Isaac Wendel, 11, left, and his mother Jennie Wendel of Port Angeles,… Continue reading

John Brewer.
Longtime Peninsula Daily News editor, publisher dies at 76

John Brewer instrumental in community projects

Randy Perry and Judy Reandeau Stipe, volunteer executive director of Sequim Museum & Arts, hold aloft a banner from "The Boys in the Boat" film Perry purchased and is loaning to the museum. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
‘Boys in the Boat’ banner to be loaned to museum

Sequim man purchases item shown in film at auction

Charisse Deschenes, first hired by the city of Sequim in 2014, departed this week after 10 years in various roles, including most recently deputy city manager/community and economic development director. (City of Sequim)
Deputy manager leaves Sequim

Community, economic development position open

Hoko River project seeks salmon recovery and habitat restoration

Salmon coaltion takes lead in collaboration with Makah, Lower Elwha tribes

Clallam Transit’s zero-fare program off to successful start

Ridership is up and problems are down, general manager says