Wet-Nose Rescue hopes for city support in future
LE MARS — Wet-Nose Rescue President and Manager Angel Anderson introduced herself to the Le Mars City Council during the public comment period of its Feb. 21 meeting. Anderson said she wanted to learn more about how to apply for funding assistance for the animal shelter.
“We’re not quite aware of all the possibilities we can have, like grant requests, other kinds of deadlines like community grants,” Anderson said.
She said while Wet-Nose has provided foster care for animals for a few years, it acquired a shelter license that went into affect on Nov. 1. Since then, it has assisted people with around 50 pet adoptions. It also has a chip reader to help in identifying lost animals.
Wet-Nose asked for $9,900 from the city but was told it had applied too late. It made the same request to the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors, who tentatively agreed to provide $2,500 in funding. The county gave $1,500 to Wet-Nose last year.
The nonprofit facility, officially known as Plymouth County Shelter & Adoption, was founded on July 15, 2019. It has a strong presence on social media to assist in locating lost pets, Anderson said. Wet-Nose has a large group of volunteers, with a core group of about 12 people who train others and provide regular coverage for the shelter.
Getting access to city funds or other public dollars would help the shelter, she said. It sought money in the last budget cycle but submitted a request too late, Anderson said.
That’s why she is seeking to learn “the proper channels,” she said.
Mayor Rob Bixenman said City Administrator Jason Vacura and Finance Director Jacob Widman would provide guidance to the shelter on applying for city support.
Bixenman said he was a fan of the shelter.
“Any of you haven’t been out there yet, it’s an amazing facility,” he said. “They did a wonderful job of it. It’s a great asset to our community.”
Anderson said she is forging a relationship with the Le Mars Police Department. The shelter can be used as a drop-off place for dogs picked up by the police, saving money by having a local place, instead of the current practice of taking the animal to a Sioux City shelter.
“We are drafting an agreement that will allow us to bring unclaimed dogs we have in our pound to their shelter for up to seven days,” Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte told The Le Mars Sentinel. “In the event the dog is not claimed within the seven days, Wet-Nose Rescue will be able to put the dog up for adoption.”
Officers responded to 175 animal calls in 2022 and took about 80 stray dogs into the city pound located at the Police Department, Vande Vegte said. The department has a short-term holding on the strays, he said.
“If they remain unclaimed after the short hold, they are transferred to a shelter for the mandatory seven-day hold,” Vande Vegte said. “The city of Le Mars also has an agreement with the Siouxland Humane Society in Sioux City and the agreement with Wet-Nose Shelter will be our first call for shelter needs under the agreement with them.”
The chief said the addition of a licensed shelter in town is a positive development.
“Most of the dogs we transfer to shelters are adoptable dogs who are neglected or are just not cared for. Wet-Nose will provide a safe and encouraging environment for them,” Vande Vegte said. “We are hopeful that we can work with Wet-Nose Rescue to help our agency concentrate on police services, while they can concentrate on their specialty, animal care.”
At the council meeting, Anderson was asked about the shelter’s euthanasia policy. She said no healthy animals are put down, since it is classified as a “no-kill” facility.
“I couldn’t do that,” she said. “That’s why we’re called no-kill.”
Animals who are ill, suffering, either from disease or advanced age, are humanely put down, Anderson said. So far, that has happened three times. When an animal is put down, it is cremated and its ashes are placed in a memorial at Wet-Nose.
Jim Anderson of Le Mars, a Wet-Nose supporter, praised the organization and its volunteers.
It’s just amazing the time that some workers have come in and are constantly there,” Jim Anderson said. “Angel’s the primary example. She leads the pack with the time and effort she puts in. She’s constantly there.”
Angel Anderson said she works at least 10 hours a day, all unpaid.
“I’m out of my mind,” she told the Le Mars Sentinel later.
Anderson said she has had a “passion” to care for animals her entire life. Seeing people cry when they adopt a pet is a moving and powerful experience, she said.
“I’ve just always had animals, always had a huge place in my heart for others,” Anderson said. “It’s just an amazing thing. Plymouth County needed this so badly.
Jim Anderson said the renovated building is a welcome addition to the city and is clean, well-maintained and well-situated at 1331 Hawkeye Ave. S.W., near the Le Mars Airport.
“It has three good features: Location, location, location,” he said.
To volunteer, call Lola Fitch at 712-539-0094. To donate to Wet-Nose, call 712-540-5919 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be made through Venmo.