City aids Friends of Animal Rescue campaign

September 24, 2018

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — As visitors climb up the white cement stairs of the Friends of Animal Rescue Center on the Island, anticipation builds for a fun-filled time of shopping and visiting the animals.

They know they’ll soon be greeted with sounds of adoptable barking dogs and meowing cats, and will be able to explore through an assortment of resale items, such as donated clothing, furniture, jewelry and more.

Every year, for the past seven years, the Friends of Animal Rescue Center helps save more than 600 dogs, cats, birds, opossums and other wildlife on the Island.

However, the shelter and resale store has outgrown itself. Shelter personnel believe their vision for the future cannot be achieved in their current building due to a variety of reasons, such as lack of space and outdated heating and ventilation systems that they feel doesn’t provide critical fresh air exchange.

Shelter personnel hope to have specified areas that are efficient in their shelter, such as separate dog and cat receiving and exam rooms, adoption interview rooms, animal “getacquainted” rooms and isolation and observation kennels that allow visitors to see animals through glass windows.

Therefore, in May, the shelter announced the start of their “Unleash the Possibilities” capital campaign to build a new animal care center.

Island city officials approved contributing $50,000 from general fund reserves to the center’s campaign during a board meeting on Sept. 19.

“We’re humbled and grateful to the city officials for really kicking off our campaign,” Friends of Animal Rescue president and co-founder Jacky Conrad said in a phone interview. “I think it shows that the community as a whole really cares about what happens to the animals on the Island.”

According to Conrad, this is the first major donation they’ve received in the amount of more than $5,000. She says the goal is to “at least get the land purchased for the new center by the end of the year.”

“I’ve been in the animal business so I’ve been around about 40 animal care facilities and humane societies over the years and this is the best run animal center that I’ve been exposed to,” Island Mayor Dennis Stahl said. “So, I’m ecstatic about (our contribution).”

Friends of Animal Rescue live streamed the board meeting on Facebook while city officials took action to contribute money to their campaign.

More than 50 people expressed their appreciation for the city’s contribution and their streamed video received close to 2,000 views.

The shelter has helped cats and dogs find homes and garnered attention from people throughout the country.

Michele Banks Knapp wrote, “I love South Padre Island even more! I adopted from Friends while on vacation this past summer. Admiration from Wisconsin.”

According to Conrad, Michele and her family were visiting the Island for two weeks and fell in love with one of the shelter’s dogs, so they adopted him.

“The satisfaction for me comes from seeing animals be reunited with their owners and also seeing these homeless animals go to loving homes,” Conrad said.

“There’s nothing more fun than seeing an animal get adopted. So, every donation counts.”

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