Wags & Whiskers animal sanctuary nears final approval

Adam Rollins, Editor

Organizers preparing to build a new nonprofit animal shelter in Warren County say they are close to obtaining the necessary local government approvals to move forward with construction.

Wags & Whiskers, the nonprofit that hosts the annual Woofstock Festival for Dogs, is awaiting a final vote on a permit for the shelter from Innsbrook’s board this month, said Tracy Sator, vice – president of the association.

The shelter would be located on Highway M, just west of Highway F. The location is on the northern edge of the rural village of Innsbrook and a short drive from Warrenton and Wright City. The placement will give the shelter plenty of space, while being convenient to access from multiple areas, Sator said.

The Innsbrook Village Board will vote on whether to issue a permit for the animal sanctuary on Sept. 20, Sator said. This vote will be crucial, as Wags & Whiskers purchased the land for the refuge based on this approval. Sator said the nonprofit’s board didn’t want to get ahead of itself, but was optimistic that it would receive approval and move quickly toward its goal.

“We feel good about it, but until it’s done we’re not moving forward. The next step (after approval) is to close the property,” Sator noted.

Even if and when permit approval takes place, a lot of things will still need to come together to make the shelter a reality. Wags & Whiskers will need to meet with a project manager to consolidate the cost of a bespoke installation, and will begin campaigning for additional funding for the project almost immediately, Sator said.

She added that organizers have been encouraged to already begin receiving pledges from local businesses for supplies or services to help build the shelter. Each contribution brings the non-profit organization closer to realizing its dream of a high-quality animal sanctuary serving the entire region.

“We will have a lot of sponsorship opportunities. We will need flooring, drywall, doors, etc. Everything for interior construction,” Sator commented. “We know the community support is there. … I think seeing the eventual inauguration will give that a boost and allow us to move quickly on this construction.

The layout of the facility is planned to provide a relatively comfortable, safe and hygienic environment for up to 25 dogs and approximately 30 cats while awaiting adoption. Spacious kennels will be accompanied by indoor play areas, separate facilities for dogs and cats, isolation rooms for sick animals and an outdoor play area. Wags & Whiskers also hopes to have room for community education programs, Sator said.

The shelter will have a full-time manager and a team of volunteers.

As the plans progress, there will be an ongoing need for people to get involved and show their support for the project. To learn more about Wags & Whiskers or to contact us, visit the organization’s website, www.wags-whiskers.org.