Mason County PAWS

Mason County PAWS has purchased 12.5 acres in Amber Township for the construction a no-kill animal shelter where rescued animals — like these Australian cattle dogs, rescued a few years ago — can be cared for. The shelter will house both dogs and cats.

Building a no-kill animal shelter to Mason County has been a dream for Mason County PAWS for years, and the local organization reached a milestone on the path to turning that dream into a reality.

Jacklyn Osgood, president of Mason County PAWS, said the nonprofit finalized the purchase of a 12.5-acre property in Amber Township on July 31 for the eventual construction of a shelter to provide a safe haven for Mason County’s cats and dogs.

The land currently features a usable 24-foot by 40-foot pole barn as well as a mobile home that will need to be cleared away.

Though there’s a great deal of work to be done, Osgood said it’s a major win for the organization and for the animals and animal advocates of the area.

“(The sale) is all finalized, so it’s ours… This has been our dream for five years,” Osgood said. “We heard through the grapevine of this property. The location was perfect, the zoning was perfect. And it just fit, it was unanimous that we invest in the property.”

The purchase was made with the help of a donation from an anonymous supporter.

Osgood said the property is on a paved road, and has water and septic systems.

A special land-use variance will be needed, at some point, to begin construction of the shelter itself, but Osgood said that will be explored further as things continue to develop.

“We’re going to start raising money for the facility, so that’s going to take a while, but now people have something tangible that they know about,” she said.

The plan is to build a shelter capable of housing between 10 and 20 kennels for dogs, with room for about 50 cats at a time, to start.

“I want to build so we can expand if needed,” Osgood said.

The most pressing need will be preparing the property for winter, and Mason County PAWS will need donations and volunteers in order to make that happen.

“We’re going to have to raise a heck of a lot of money. We’re going to need a lot of fill dirt and gravel, because it’s a low area, so we’re looking for donations of any kind, and volunteers to help us knock down the grasses and stuff, because it’s quite overgrown,” she said.

It’s going to take a lot of work, but it will be worth it, according to Osgood.

“We just want to have a place — a central location — that all of the organizations can use,” Osgood said. “It’s going to be for all of us. It’s all to help the animals and the people who help the animals.”

The organization’s board will meet soon to determine a timetable for when the shelter might open, and lay out some benchmarks for the project.

Osgood said Mason County PAWS will continue to rescue, shelter, help with spaying and neutering and find permanent homes for dogs and cats in the area while the group works toward its ultimate goal of establishing the county’s first no-kill animal shelter.

In a release about the purchase, Mason County PAWS stated that it plans to collaborate with other animal welfare organizations in the area.

“We intend to help all of Mason County’s animal rescue organizations and people with dogs and cats. It will take time and a lot of effort to raise money for this wonderful shelter for the good of all the dogs and cats in our community,” the release stated. “We look forward to working with businesses and individuals who share our passion… We will need all the volunteers and donations to make sure this is an animal shelter that will make Mason County proud.”

Mason County PAWS will be seeking grants for the construction of the shelter, but those who wish to contribute now can do so by sending donations to Mason County PAWS, P.O. Box 132, Scottville, MI 49454.

Because is a certified 501©3 nonprofit organization, donations are tax deductible.

Those interested in volunteering can call Osgood at 757-9219 or they can find Mason County PAWS on Facebook to learn more.

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