Jim deBoon, Sylvan Lake’s animal control officer for the past 33 years, is hosting the grand opening of a new facility for his pet boarding and shelter operation Saturday.
It is considerably larger than its predecessor, and was built to keep up with growing demand on both sides of the Klassic Kennels operation.
“We’re what we call a hybrid of both a shelter and boarding facility, and both have grown and are growing,” said deBoon. “We started building this new facility 14 months ago, and it’s 12,000 square feet. The old one was 1,000 square feet.”
The boarding facility, which also acts as an animal shelter, has been open since the beginning of February. On Saturday, it will be officially opened to the public for the first time. Everyone’s invited.
Income from pet boarding is used to fund the animal shelter, which, in turn, prevents the need for euthanasia.
For that reason, the shelter is able to maintain some of the highest live outcome and return-to-owner rates in North America.
“We don’t euthanize animals like a lot of the other shelters that do what we do,” said deBoon. “We can afford that because we’re also a boarding facility.”
Also inside the new facility are training rooms, in which deBoon helps animal control and peace officers learn to handle nervous and aggressive dogs using the “most amount of skill, and the least amount of force”.
There are rent-free rooms designated for non-profit groups such as Paws and Claws Animal Rescue Foundation, which works with Klassic Kennels to help fundraise and pay for animal treatments. It also helps find new homes for the shelter’s stray cats.
Tours of the facility will be offered, and prizes totalling nearly $1,000 in value will be up for grabs. As well, there will be a petting zoo with baby animals, and free hot dogs offered to the first few hundred people in attendance.
The grand opening of Klassic Kennels’ new facility — located immediately north of Red Deer on the C&E Trail — will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Klassic Kennels provides animal bylaw services to nine communities in the region, including Sylvan Lake.
More information is available online at www.klassickennels.com, and on the Klassic Kennels Facebook page.