BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – According to an official with the local P.A.W. animal shelter, a failure in the shelter’s septic system has the organization scrambling for funds to repair the system.
Tom Schulz, president of the P.A.W. board of directors, said toward the end of last week, the shelter started experiencing drainage issues in the building and called in Bates sanitation to help resolve the problem.
“We had a very alarming discovery. A couple of outside drains weren’t working properly and we thought it may have been due to a collapsed pipe so we decided to have the septic tank pumped, too. They came out to pump the tank and they said the drain field is shot and it all needs to be replaced. And with the septic code the way is it, that’s just massive, it could $15,000 to $16,000 to replace.”
Schulz said the winters are tough and expensive. The shelter gets more dogs and less adoptions during the winter and the shelter just went through a Parvo incident where they lost quite a few animals.
“Not only does that put an economic stress on us, but it also puts an emotional stress on us, as well. You don’t want to do this work if you don’t like tears,” he said.
“Quite frankly, we just don’t know where to start so we thought maybe we would try to get some awareness about our problem.”
“We’re hoping that some of the local businesses and individuals come in and help out. I’m going to put in $500 and challenge other businesses to help as well. There’s an adage that beggars can’t be choosers, well brother, I’m a beggar right now.”
“We do a lot of cleaning out here, laundry and we run a lot of water and we were hoping animal hair or something had clogged the pipes. We weren’t expecting that.”
Schulz said the organization has about $6,000 on hand.
“That’ll cover about two weeks of operations,” Schulz said. “We have our payroll, but our veterinarian bill alone is about $2,000 a week. We’ve had months where our vet bill was over $17,000”
Schulz said it isn’t an issue of a lack of community support, but this is an expense outside of what the support typically covers.
“I also want to say that the community does an amazing job of supporting the shelter. There are people who put in untold hours of volunteering and can drives. This is just outside anything we anticipated,” he said.
Individuals wishing to help with the replacement cost or donate parts or labor for the repairs is encouraged to call the shelter at 319-372-2274 or you can visit their website at pawfortmadison.com.
The PAW Fort Madison Animal Shelter is a 501 c3 non-profit organization so all contributions are tax-deductible and is located at 2031 48th Street.
Fundraising efforts that help cover the regular operations were already on the books prior to the septic system failure. A music trivia night is set for April 29 at the Fort Madison Eagles Club. Cost is $10/person with eight people per team and registration starts at 6 p.m. with the contest beginning at 7 p.m. To reserve a table call Jennifer at 217-617-9905.