By Sue Reames
What does the city do with the dogs and cats picked up by animal control services? What will happen to the animals rescued from a fire, flood, or storm damaged area? In South Kansas City there are two major options. If KC Animal Control takes charge of gathering up strays or abandoned animals such as cats, dogs and pet birds, the animal is likely to go to KC Pet Project or Wayside Waifs for evaluation and possible adoption.
Both facilities/organizations depend largely upon community donations as well as volunteers, and they would love to hear from you.
Kansas City Pet Project (KCPP)
In 2008, the newly formed Kansas City Pet Project, a nonprofit organization, was selected by city officials to assume operation of the city’s “dog pound”. Within a year, euthanasia rates of 60 to 98 percent reversed. KCPP achieved a live release/adoption rate of above 90 percent. KCPP officially achieved “No-Kill” status within six months of assuming operation of the animal shelter. All of this was accomplished by volunteers with a miniscule budget and an aging and inadequate 14,000 square foot building.
In 2018 KCPP broke ground on a new 54,000 square foot Kansas City Campus for Animal Care at Elmwood and Gregory Blvd. near Swope Park. Tori Fugate, Director of Marketing and Communications for KCPP reports, “Construction [of the new facility] is underway and completion is expected by the end of this year.”
The other option in the South Kansas City area is Wayside Waifs, also a non-profit charitable organization, now celebrating its 75th anniversary year. Wayside Waifs is supported entirely by private donations and grants. Currently the largest no-kill pet adoption campus in the city, it provides evaluation and training for animals and their prospective adopting families. Wayside Waifs also has a mobile facility that can be sent to disaster areas across the county to transport animals to safe shelters. There are also off-leash areas for both large and small dogs where owners enjoy play time with their 4-legged family members for an affordable membership fee.
To provide maximum services, Wayside Waifs is preparing to break ground on an $8 million-dollar project to add 20,000 square feet to the campus on Martha Truman Road. Expansion will include an Education and Training Center for dog training classes as well as Youth Education Programming. New office space will be added. A Canine Behavior Center to serve shy, fearful and high-energy/arousal shelter dog behavior transformations is also planned. Groundbreaking is scheduled for August 22.