New ‘top dog’ at ACARF

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August 12, 2013 - 12:00 AM

ACARF reaches 1,000-pet mark

LAHARPE — Three weeks into being director of Allen County Animal Rescue Facility, Wendy Stahl couldn’t be any happier.
“I’m passionate about animals,” said Stahl, who has several dogs and cats as pets. Stahl, 41, and her husband Russell and their family live in Garnett.
Stahl took ACARF’s reins from Andi DePriest, who left for employment at Red Barn Veterinary Clinic.
Stahl comes with experience. She has worked about 12 years as a dog groomer, and has been associated full time with other pet shelters, including being an assistant manager.
“I love animals,” Stahl said, and it shows.
A kitten cuddled next to her cheek while Stahl gushed about her new role with ACARF.
The first test came quickly.
Thursday state animal health officials came to inspect the shelter.
“We passed with flying colors,” Stahl crowed.
Stahl envisions no changes of any magnitude in the way the shelter is run or in techniques for caring for animals, although as she settles in occasional tweaking is likely. She is assisted in daily chores by four full-time employees, two part-time and a handful of volunteers.
“One thing I’d like to add is an organized group of volunteers,” she said, in addition to those who serve on ACARF’s board, composed of Larry Macha, president, Julie Payne, treasurer, Wade Bowie, Dawn Murray, Janice Porter and Art Chapman.
ACARF also has a number of supporters and in recent months funding has perked up, helped enormously by proceeds from fireworks sales that Virginia Macha conceived and organized for Fourth of July. Other fundraisers are ongoing — a booth is planned for Farm-City Days — and unsolicited donations always are welcome.

ACARF’S shelter opened three years ago and recently completed its 1,000th pet adoption, the lion’s share of which have been dogs. Animals have been placed with homes throughout eastern Kansan.
The shelter is having a “special” on kittens for $20 per adoption, Stahl said.
Normal charges are $90, which includes an identifying microchip, vaccination and having the animal spayed or neutered.
The shelter is currently full, she said, with 55 animals total, mostly dogs. She is hopeful the kitten special will open space. A special on black dogs — a tie-in to Halloween — is planned for October.
Some breeds of dogs are more sought after than others and if a canine or feline languishes too long in the shelter, efforts are made to find foster care or another rescue facility where adoption might be enhanced, she said.
Animals are brought to the shelter by owners who no longer are able to care for a pet or face circumstances that make keeping one difficult. Those brought in privately are taken for a donation; Iola animal control pays $85.
Almost to the minute an animal arrives, Stahl and her staff look it over, bathe and clean, vaccinate and deworm.
Then, the new resident awaits adoption.
“We have some great animals,” Stahl said. “I wish I could take them all home with me.”

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