Humane Society fundraiser goes to the dogs ... and cats

Admittedly not a “cat person,” Mary Beth Wegener, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society, gives some love to calico Missy at the humane society’s facility just west of Port Angeles.  - Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell
Admittedly not a “cat person,” Mary Beth Wegener, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society, gives some love to calico Missy at the humane society’s facility just west of Port Angeles.
— image credit: Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

They come from all sorts of backgrounds and back stories, but all find themselves looking for a home.

Now, the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society is finding new digs for the area’s abandoned dogs and cats — at least, that is, until the furry friends find new caretakers.

The humane society’s second annual “Meowgaritas and Mutts” dinner and auction is set for Saturday, April 26, and furthers the organization’s efforts to move from its location west of Port Angeles to a piece of property off Old Olympic Highway between Port Angeles and Sequim.

The society has raised nearly $600,000 in its “Dig Deep” campaign to fund the new, $1.12 million animal shelter.

A bit of serendipity led Olympic Peninsula Humane Society to the 9.5-acre Old Olympic Highway property that now features three modular buildings. Mary Beth Wegener, executive director of the humane society, said a couple of volunteers spotted the available land and mentioned it to her and society board members.

“It’s pretty much perfect for what we need,” Wegener says.

Which, as Wegener points out, is room to grow. The current location (2105 W. Highway 101) is simply too cramped.

“The back of the property, it just drops off (and) we don’t really have any parking,” she says.

With 30 kennels in the humane society’s 2,900-square-foot building, dog space is at a premium. The new property will have 55 dog kennels, Wegener says, with options for the dogs to stay outside or stay in covered areas.

The three modular buildings on the Old Olympic property will be used to house cats, administration and veterinary services. Wegener says the animal shelter can see as many as 200 cats. While that number would still pack the three modulars on the site, Wegener says, “We’ll make that work. For us it will seem huge.”

The 4,800-square-foot dog kennel facility must be built, however, before the organization can move to the new location.

Wegener says construction can begin as early as July or August and it should take about eight months, considering permitting processes, septic installation and parking.

Cost of the facility and infrastructure requirements is estimated at $1.12 million.

Though the humane society has about half of that, Wegener notes, “the board felt good enough (with the project) for us to proceed with construction.”

The humane society bought the land in 2012 for $325,000 and paid it off last year.

‘Meowgaritas and Mutts’

Tickets for “Meowgaritas and Mutts” are $50 per person. Tables of eight and 10 also are available.

The event will feature a Mexican dinner catered by Jose’s Famous Salsa along with both silent and live auctions.

Cocktails and the silent auction begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner following at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit the humane society’s building fund.

Auction items up for bid include four tickets to a Seahawks game, a three-night stay in Monterey, Calif. (including passes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium), a ride on a sprint boat, a helicopter tour of the Olympic Peninsula and dinner for six with Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict.

Auction donations will be accepted at the shelter during regular business hours, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday.

About OPHS

The Olympic Peninsula Humane Society cares for about 2,000 animals each year.

Despite views to the contrary, Wegener says, the humane society has at least one staffer at the animal shelter seven days per week.

The organization sees six paid staffers for animal care, plus veterinarian (Suzy Zistak, who came up with the “Meowgaritas and Mutts” moniker) and Wegener.

About 29 percent of society’s annual budget revenues come through contracts with agencies like the City of Sequim, City of Port Angeles and Clallam County, but the majority of funds come through private donations, Wegener says.

The Olympic Peninsula Humane Society has maintained an active presence in the community since 1947. The society shelters and cares for animals of all types. According to the organization’s website, the society is a “low-kill” shelter, meaning that euthanasia is reserved as a “last resort to relieve suffering for the untreatably ill or injured and for very aggressive animals.”

For more information or to reserve seats, call the humane society at 457-8206.


Meowgaritas and Mutts dinner and auction

What: Benefit for Olympic Peninsula Humane Society

When: 5:30 p.m., Saturday, April 26

Where: Vern Burton Center, 308 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles

Tickets: $50 per person

Info/reserve seats: Call 457-8206

On the web:


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