The Dumb Friends League San Luis Valley Animal Center officially open

PHOTO COURTESY OF DUMB FRIENDS LEAGUE From left Alamosa Mayor Ty Coleman, Dumb Friends League CEO Apryl Steele and former Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen perform the ceremonial ribbon cutting at the San Luis Valley Animal Center.

ALAMOSA — Just nine months after breaking ground, the Dumb Friends League (DFL) San Luis Valley Animal Center officially opened its doors on Thursday.

At a grand opening ceremony, the Animal Center welcomed guests from the public showing many on walking tours on every step of the process from the loading bay to the adoption kennels with knowledgeable associates answering questions all along the way.

“Our choice to name the space an animal center and not a shelter was a mindful one,” said DFL President and CEO Apryl Steele during the grand opening.

“We envision so much more than just sheltering happening here. Pets are family members to many of us and by acknowledging that we’re serving family members we’re also acknowledging that we’re serving families. It is our hope that this center will become a valued part of this community.”

The few in attendance, in accordance with health guidelines, also got an up-close and personal look at the first furry residents of the center that will be ready for adoption.

From the moment the idea was conceived the center has been pulled along by every individual involved in the project from former Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen and former DFL Vice President Duane Adams giving the project legs, to City Manager Heather Brooks and Mayor Ty Coleman getting the city involved, generous support from Dumb Friends League as well as the community at large. Alamosa County ran a challenge that brought in $1,510 garnering donors such as Alamosa State Bank, Adams State University, SLV Health as well as a number of Alamosa County Employees. There were numerous fundraisers including locals the Sanchez family. Eldest son Peyon, 14,  suffers from Neurofibromatosis. Peyton and Mother Sheila, Father Charlie and Brother Landon were on hand selling lemonade on Thursday, the proceeds of which went to the Animal Center. Not to be forgotten is the generous contribution from Henry Roath who funded most of the construction on the center by giving $1.7 million dollars.

Also speaking at the grand opening was Mayor Ty Coleman,

“The building of this regional animal center has already had a positive economic impact in our community. Thanks to all the local contractors, suppliers, and workers who put in the hard work like Commissioner (Darius) Allen, all the community people who came together to work as a team. It helps stimulate our local economy when we all bring facilities like this into our community.”

The center will be prepared to handle around 2,500 and approximately 800 cats.

Lost, stray, neglected, and abused cats and dogs will be cared for at the animal center. Spay or neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccines, and a microchip ID are all provided with any adoption. And the animals that aren’t adopted locally will be transferred to areas with more adoption opportunities.

“We want to share with the community the joy that pets bring to our lives. And we need your help to do that, we need the community’s help to do that,” said DFL Vice President of Operations Katie Parker. She continued on to say,

“We’ll start by sharing volunteer opportunities for people from the community to come and learn about the work our team’s doing and help them do that work. Soon we’ll be looking for foster homes to help us provide an alternative for animals that won’t thrive in the shelter setting.

Our commitment to creating strong connections here has inspired us to create a new position and we’re hiring a local community liaison who’s going to be specific to the San Luis Valley

This is our first shelter outside the Metro-Denver area and we’re really excited to be part of the special fabric of the San Luis Valley.”