Another animal shelter may dip its paws into Greenfield

Second facility seeks city approval

Jan. 10, 2012

Greenfield - A week after an animal rescue/adoption organization got final approval from the city to set up shop in Greenfield, another is asking to come into Greenfield, too.

Only last week, the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center in Greendale received a special-use permit from the Greenfield Common Council allowing it to open at 5217 S. 51st St. This week, the Happy Endings No Kill Cat Shelter in Milwaukee started the city approval process.

Veteran city development director Chuck Erickson said that, in his career in Greenfield, he has never come across even one animal adoption organization making such a request, let alone two.

"It's ironic to have two similar animal uses wanting to come into the city in a relatively short period of time," he said.

That's just a coincidence, said Amy Rowell, director of the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center. When the center that has been at Southridge since 2006 started looking for a new home, it focused on Greenfield, Greendale, Franklin and Hales Corners, she said.

"We really enjoy being in that area," Rowell said.

Patricia Haberski, president of the Happy Endings board of directors, is also struck by the irony of two similar facilities wanting to locate in Greenfield.

"We knew they were moving, but we didn't know where and here they are two miles down the road - it's so weird," Haberski said.

Rescuing from other shelters

While Happy Endings is starting the approval process, the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center is starting to transform the former office building to suit their needs.

The Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center only takes in cats and dogs from other shelters where the animals would have been euthanized, Rowell said. Adoptable cats and kittens will live at the center. Dogs, young kittens and injured cats and dogs will continue to be cared for in foster homes.

The target is to open the center in early April, she said. After the adoptable cats are comfortably moved in, attention will turn to the garage. It will be converted into a place where dogs and kittens can meet potential adoptive families and where classes can be held for both pets and people.

Outreach that helps owners be able to keep their pets is a big focus for the rescue center, Rowell said. It also offers free and low-cost spaying and neutering.

"The focus is on preventing the problem and on changing the future," Rowell said.

The center has already found homes for more than 4,000 dogs and cats that otherwise would have been euthanized, she said. It gets about 90 percent of its dogs and about 65 percent of its cats from the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission, she said. All the pets come from Wisconsin and usually from in southeastern Wisconsin, she said.

As part of the approval process, the tax-exempt shelter agreed to a $2,100 payment in lieu of taxes that will cover the amount it would pay in city property taxes for services such as plowing and fire and police protection.

Working toward Happy Ending

Happy Endings, whose proposal was to go before the Plan Commission this week, has operated since 1994 and is strictly a cat-adoption agency.

Currently operating at 5344 W. Forest Home Ave. in Milwaukee, just across the street from Greenfield, it finds homes for stray or abused cats, unwanted cats and cats rescued off the streets.

It just wants more space, not necessarily to take care of more than the 60 cats now at the shelter, Patricia Haberski said.

The building it is looking at 33rd Street and Loomis Road in Greenfield offers that additional space, plus a conveyor belt to the basement - a feature which comes in handy when 300 bags of cat litter arrive all at once, Haberski said. The added space also would enable the group to get more into education, she added.

Greenfield would be a good location because it's close to where Happy Endings is now and to the veterinarian who serves it, Haberski said.

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