Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Animal rescue moved


February 27, 2019

Ron Warnick

Paws and Claws Animal Rescue of Quay County Chairwoman Kathi McClelland greets Sadie and her five 3-month-old puppies Thursday in one of the dog runs at the new animal shelter on Airport Road in rural Tucumcari.

A contractor still needed to apply paint to the walls, switch plates needed to be added, trenches for water lines needed to be filled and piles of pea gravel needed to be spread in the parking area.

But the sound of barking dogs indicated Paws and Claws Animal Rescue of Quay County had moved to its new location on Airport Road by a Feb. 15 deadline.

Kathi McClelland, chairwoman of the nonprofit shelter, said Thursday "it was a crazy weekend" for her and about 15 volunteers to move all the animals and equipment from 1101 W. Railroad Ave. in Tucumcari several miles east to 6427 Quay Road Ai, known as Airport Road.

McClelland said the city of Tucumcari had received a grant to convert the Railroad Avenue property, which Paws and Claws had leased at no cost, into a firefighter training facility. The city faced a deadline to use the grant, and it gave the animal shelter one month to vacate, she said.

McClelland said there were no hard feelings.

"We didn't want to be in the way of progress or a grant," she said.

Paws and Claws already had planned to move to Airport Road eventually, but the deadline pushed up the timeline.

McClelland said she hopes Paws and Claws' new digs will be fully operational by late this week. Within a month, the shelter plans to install a buried metal fence around the property that will keep out coyotes and other would-be predators.

The new Paws and Claws Animal Rescue of Quay County shelter holds one advantage over the old one - more room. McClelland said the building at Railroad Avenue measured 1,000 square feet, if that. The new facility contains enough extra space for a medical and surgery room, a small-dog room, a cat room, offices, bathrooms with large sinks and showers to bathe animals and an adoption-appointment room.

The shelter also will feature 16 indoor/outdoor dog runs to allow the animals to go outside for sunshine and fresh air, yet include climate control for the indoors part to keep the them comfortable during hot or cold weather. About 15 dogs were using the runs Thursday.

But when asked about the biggest advantage of the new facility, McClelland said: "We're not bugging people with barking dogs."

The Airport Road site, she noted, sits in in a rural area, with the nearest residence about a quarter-mile away.

Daniel Construction of Tucumcari was finishing its work on the building at a discounted rate, she said, and a grant from the McMullen Community Foundation will cover some of the estimated $180,000 cost. Paws and Claws, a federally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit, also continues to take donations through the mail at P.O. Box 143, Tucumcari, NM 88401.

As a consequence of the shelter essentially being a construction area, McClelland said it can't accept any animals for the time being.

"We just can't right now," she said. "We have to get this project done first before we can start taking animals again."

In the future, McClelland wants to add metal storage units and an outdoor kennel that would serve as a quarantine area. Volunteers also created a trail outside of the fenced area so volunteers can walk dogs.

But for now, she wants the main building to be finished within the next few days.

"We're excited," she said. "We just want to be here and be done."


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