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PAWS uncovers extensive building damage during spring thaw

Kennels and netting to be covered by insurance; fundraising for new roof

by Crystal Kotowski

Paradise Animal Welfare Society, PAWS, is issuing an SOS, “Save Our Shelter,” because the winter’s snowfall has caused the complete collapse of all 10 outdoor kennels and exterior netting. Built in 2010, the fully donated building has weathered seven winters, but the weight of the snow proved too much this year.

“The snow slid, and we didn’t even know of the damage before the snow started to thaw out two weeks ago. We couldn’t see the area under the 10 feet of snow,” said the president of PAWS, Rita Clement. “We have never had problems until now. This is huge and unfortunate. We need help.”

PAWS is poised to file an insurance claim this week for the netting and kennels at the estimated cost of $40,000 to $50,000, not including installation. Since PAWS expects to receive the needed materials eight weeks after filing the claim, and the installation of the kennels will take only one week, reconstruction could be finished by July. Tim Rolph of Aztec Mountain Builders, who constructed the original kennels, will be contracted again for the reconstruction.

With the limited outdoor space and potential noise from reconstruction, PAWS expects its services to be impacted. During the summer, PAWS makes the effort to shelter three to four animals to be euthanized from across the state—and this year, it might not be able to.

“According to our contractor, [we should just] get rid of it all,” Clement said of the damaged kennels and subsequent potential for extending its capacity. “We want to at least get all of this out of here so the dogs have space to run.”

While insurance will cover the kennels and netting, it will not cover a new roof.

“In order for insurance to cover us again, and for practical reasons so that this doesn’t happen again, the part we need to raise money for is a new roof. The roof is going to be huge. We can’t even imagine how much it’s going to cost,” said Clement. The new roof needs to extend over the kennels.

PAWS is seeking plans from architects and engineers, but does not have drawings yet. Considering the extent of funds required to be raised and that the county planning commission must approve the plans, PAWS’ goal is to have a new roof installed before next winter.

Sharing her fundraising ideas, Clement noted, “My dream is to get Sarah McLachlan here,” reflecting on the singer’s emotional ads with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

PAWS is seeking community support for the damages. Donations may be made online at the PAWS website or mailed to PO Box 531, Crested Butte, CO 81224.

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