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Animal shelters to split $1.1 million bequest

Dorothy M. Clark loved animals, especially cats

A gift of more than $1 million from an animal lover’s estate will go a long way toward protecting and sheltering unwanted or abused animals in the Spokane area.

The Spokane Humane Society and SpokAnimal C.A.R.E. will split about $1.1 million from the estate of philanthropist Dorothy M. Clark, said Dave Richardson, director of the Spokane Humane Society.

“On behalf of the animals we serve and our board of directors, I am very pleased to accept this incredibly generous gift that will be used to build a brighter future for animals in need,” Richardson said.

He said the Spokane Humane Society will use its share of the gift to help build a new animal shelter and transform its 40-acre property into a “field of dreams” for animals in need.

Richardson said the money will be held in trust until the Spokane Humane Society raises enough additional capital to develop the property, including a dog park. He estimated the project, which is still in the planning stage, will cost between $4 million and $5 million.

SpokAnimal executive director Gail Mackie said the $534,000 gift could not have come at a better time as the agency transitions out of animal control.

Mackie said SpokAnimal is hoping to move its veterinary clinic into a new building with more room to perform surgeries.

“We hope to attack the overpopulation problem a little more aggressively and reduce euthanasia,” she said.

The executor of Clark’s estate stipulated that the money not be used for operations or salaries, Mackie said, adding that SpokAnimal is still in need of donations to support its mission of adopting out abandoned animals.

Clark, who died last year, was a longtime donor and a lover of animals, particularly cats, Richardson said.

“Her gift is meant to be used to help us realize a vision,” he said.