The original Animal Hospice concept was founded in 1972. For years, it functioned as a pet placement network, individuals fostering lost or abandoned pets and caring for their many needs, while looking for new homes.

The Animal Shelter of Wood River Valley opened its doors in May of 1982. The five acres of land the facilities occupy was a gift from a local benefactor. Many fundraising benefits, private donations, volunteer laborers and initial funding given by the Blaine County Government in exchange for services of collecting fines and license fees, contributed to the construction of the original facility.

Adoring dog face

The original facility, which still stands, includes a small office, cattery, and a dog kennel room. In the years that followed, outdoor playpens were added, another dog kennel building, an isolation room, a dog impound room, our pet acquaintance center & training area, three new large outdoor kennels and most recently our surgery/medical center.

The Barkin' Basement, our thrift store subsidiary on Main Street in downtown Hailey, opened its doors in April of 1994. The store provides the shelter a good source of outside financing and offers tax deductions for all merchandise donated. The thrift store facility is rented space, not a shelter property. The store is always looking for donations, and can provide pickup for large merchandise and furniture. Volunteer help is needed and always welcome.

The Animal Shelter of Wood River Valley is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. The shelter operates with a very modest core management staff and kennel assistants. The Board of Directors sets policy and actively supports the shelter in its fundraising and educational efforts.

The majority of our funding comes from fundraising efforts and donations. We are not a county facility. Currently we service the Blaine County Animal Control Program as their Impound Facility, holding and releasing animals brought to the shelter by our Animal Control Officers and local citizens.

In May of 1999, the Board of Directors adopted a Resolution to operate as a "no kill" shelter, the first in Idaho. Our goal is to safely house any dog or cat who we believe adoptable until the time we find a loving home for the animal. The Board defined adoptable dogs and cats as all dogs and cats over the age of eight weeks that are reasonably healthy and well adjusted, regardless of whether the animal is elderly, disfigured, blind, deaf or missing a limb. However, the Board does authorize euthanasia for animals who cannot be rehabilitated either because they are hopelessly ill, injured, extremely old or are so aggressive that their placement with the public would pose a risk to public safety.

Operating within no kill guidelines means there are no time limits regarding the length of stay for any animal at the shelter. The modest core staff provide the basic needs of food and clean shelter for the animals. Our volunteer network is essential to the mission of maintaining a quality of life for the animals during their stay at the shelter. We rely on members of the community to walk dogs, bathe, groom the animals and help with instilling basic training and good manners. Spending a short few minutes with a lonely dog or cat may serve as the most important part of their day.

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