Raising $275,000 is a big goal, but Justine Hubbard, president of the Oxford-based K9 Stray Rescue League (K9SRL), is hoping it’s attainable.
On May 23, she created a GoFundMe page in hopes of collecting that amount to purchase 2.43 acres of vacant land adjacent to the rescue group’s home at 2120 Metamora Rd., just west of M-24.
The page is entitled “K9 Stray Expansion Efforts” and as of Tuesday afternoon, a total of 26 people had contributed a combined $1,577.
The owner of the land has been allowing K9SRL to use it for visitor and volunteer parking and as a place to walk the dogs so they can get some exercise. But this arrangement won’t last forever because the land is for sale.
“If that property sells, we don’t have any parking,” Hubbard said.
Forcing visitors and volunteers to go back to parking and walking dogs on Metamora Rd. is not safe or practical, in her opinion, because the road is “heavily-traveled” by large trucks and there’s a corner that’s “hard to see around.”
Creating a parking lot on K9SRL’s existing property just isn’t an option, according to Hubbard. “That front yard is not big enough to do much with,” she said.
Hubbard said the owner has “offered to work with us on a land contract,” but K9SRL’s board wants to first see how fund-raising efforts go before potentially committing to anything.
If K9SRL is able to purchase the land, not only would it continue to be used for parking and walking dogs, Hubbard said it could potentially be a new home for the rescue group.
“The dream would be to build a new building on that parcel and take down the old one,” she said. “We’ve been talking with an architect and exploring different options.”
According to Hubbard, the group is facing the possibility of having to spend $60,000 or more to repair the old stone foundation of its current facility, which is “significantly deteriorated.”
If K9SRL is unable to obtain the land adjacent to the north side of its property, Hubbard said the only other options are to rehabilitate an old building that has no parking or move to a new location.
With regard to the second option, she noted, “We don’t want to do that. We’ve been where we are since 1990.”
Designing and building a new facility would allow the rescue group to create a place that’s easier to keep clean, has a more efficient layout and is better for the dogs in terms of being able to contain and reduce potential health issues, according to Hubbard.
She would like to see a new building with features such as a separate entrance for the sole purpose of bringing in new dogs, a separate area for small dogs, “quiet areas” and meeting rooms for adoptions, and a whelping room for mothers and puppies.
“Right now, we tend to not take moms and puppies at the kennel. We use foster homes for them,” Hubbard said.
If K9SRL were to build a new facility, Hubbard said the group wouldn’t want it to be able to hold more than the 55 dogs its current place can handle.
She said K9SRL doesn’t want to end up in a situation where it has a bigger facility with more dogs, but not enough “manpower to care for” them.
“For now, we want to keep our dream realistic,” Hubbard said.
Last year, K9SRL saved the lives of 576 dogs and processed 594 adoptions.