HAILEY, Idaho – A new Idaho animal shelter will feature a “cat cafe,” where prospective pet owners can order coffee or cookies and go into a petting area to socialize with the shelter’s felines.
The new $16 million Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley in Hailey, which is under construction, is set to open at the end of the year, the Times-News reported.
The 30,000-square-foot facility will replace the existing dilapidated, maxed-out building and be an ideal place for the community, Executive Director and Medical Director Jo-Anne Dixon said.
“This is really about getting the community together and promoting compassion,” Dixon said during a digital tour of the future shelter on Thursday. “This is the community’s shelter – we’re just helping to actualize their vision.”
The 1982 building also doesn’t meet ADA compliance, so senior citizens have difficulty with access.
Dixon and board president Jan Main, aware that there was a need for more space and a safer pet intake system, began planning for a new shelter in 2006. Twelve years later, the shelter has nearly met its fundraising goal.
As of last week, the shelter raised $14.2 million of the needed $16 million for its new facility. This is its third year of fundraising.
In addition to the cat cafe, the new shelter will feature “Central Bark,” a space that will offer on-leash dog walking and a splash pad.
The new shelter will allow the nonprofit to better further its mission of reducing strays, educating the public and helping Idaho become a no-kill state by 2025.
The Hailey shelter also seeks to promote animal welfare with younger generations.