Bitter Root Humane Association looking to breathe new life into aging facility

Posted at 3:00 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 18:52:55-04

HAMILTON – A fundraising kickoff the Bitter Root Humane Association, called Unleash Tomorrow, aims to usher in a era for its animals, because after 35 years, the old shelter building in Hamilton has just about had it.

“Every week, I fall in love with this shelter more and more,” said Bitter Root Humane Association Operations Manager Chris Berthoud.

Berthoud has a challenge before him each day. Not just to find homes for the animals here but to run a facility that’s 35 years old and showing her age.

They tell me it’s duct tape and bailing wire keeping this place together. The boiler is barely hanging on, there are water issues fixed with creative plumbing, patchwork repairs to keep out the rodents, broken windows, wall damage and kennels that need work.

It all sits on a sprawling campus that does the job thanks to dedicated employees. It’s just not efficient anymore, especially for a growing community.

Fundraising has been successful so far, and now the association is ready to take the last push public.

The new shelter was designed specifically for animal care.

“We are building a shelter that will make wise use of airflow, sound reduction, disease reduction, how water is moved through the shelter. That help will make it more disease free,” said fundraising chair Kathie Butts. “So, it’s a better, healthier, cleaner environment.”

“We’re very proud of what we do with what we have, yes, it’s going to change the game because it’s going to be so much more efficient,” said board member Sue McCormack.

The shelter is more than just helping little animals find their forever home, it’s also here when the community is in crisis.

“Roaring Lion fire blew up so quickly that people were scrambling to get themselves out within two hours of that blowing up we had 80 animals here,” McCormack said.

The new facility puts everything under one roof with more size appropriate kennels for dogs and cats. It would be a safer, cleaner, calmer facility with a community room and more areas for school programs and volunteers. It includes outdoor exercise runs, an exam room and intake areas.

Fundraising has already netted more than half of the fundraising goal, but the exact cost of the new facility is still being calculated based on construction bids

With 95 percent of the animals here find their forever home, it’s hoped with a community’s support, the Bitter Root Humane Association will, too.

There’s a public tour scheduled for next Wednesday, April 24. You can click here to find out how to donate.

Reporting by Jill Valley for MTN News