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Three Rivers Humane Society expects to move dogs into new building sometime in February.

HOLLY M. GILL - Electrical and concrete work are underway this week at the new Three Rivers Humane Society shelter.A new shelter for the Three Rivers Humane Society is up and could be finished as early as next month.

The 5,600-square-foot building, under construction by BC Construction, of Bend, will house 41 indoor kennels, including five kennels in an after-hours drop-off area accessible to law enforcement officers.

HOLLY M. GILL - Jerilee Drynan, the operations manager for the Three Rivers Humane Society, holds Marcie, a 2- to 3-month-old lab mix, who has already been adopted from the shelter. 
Three Rivers broke ground on the building, which will cost about $370,000, on Aug. 29, and anticipates completion at the end of February.

"We have had many setbacks to the schedule but we hope to have the dogs into the building by the first week of February and the completion of the remainder of the building by the end of February," said Steve Drynan, executive director of Three Rivers, who runs the shelter with his wife, Jerilee.

"What we've done is build a shelter that's functional, affordable and easy to maintain," said Jerilee Drynan, operations manager.

The concrete block building will be finished with stucco, and copper along the front roof line, and in addition to the kennels, feature a large office, accessed by double doors, an office for the Drynans, break room and bathroom for staff, laundry room, an animal intake room, named in memory of Caroline DeOlden, and a meet-and-greet room dedicated to the late Russell Bird, a weatherman at KTVZ, in Bend, who had helped get the word out about Three Rivers Humane Society's plans to build the new facility. The 27-year-old Bird died on April 5, 2016.

Bird did several stories on the shelter for the TV station, including one just three days before he took his own life. Tens of thousands of dollars were donated for the new facility in Bird's name.

The Drynans, who took over operation of the Jefferson County kennels, in the fall and winter of 2013-14, immediately launched a campaign to raise money for a spay and neuter program, as well as to provide electricity to the outdoor kennels for heated dog beds and bowls for cold weather.

Next, they raised funds to cover and tarp the outdoor kennels, set up outdoor play yards, and in 2016, to replace the 10-year-old concrete indoor kennels with stainless steel kennels, to help prevent spread of the deadly parvovirus.

In January 2015, the nonprofit launched a campaign to raise funds for the construction of the new facility, which is now fully funded. Major donors have included: Robert Widmayer and Jeanne Schnackenberg, the first donors; Ron Stephens, Bright Wood Corp.; High Desert Contracting (Tom and Jill Schlossmacher); Community Foundation of Southwest Washington; Neil Fingerhut; Colleen Robinson; Betty Hale; Wayne and Cheri Percell; Oregon's Wild Harvest; Ruffwear; Cinder Rock Vet; and Don and Sandy Boyer, among many other donors.

"While many of our donors reside in Central Oregon, Three Rivers Humane Society has a broad base of support from all over the United States," said Steve Drynan.

"We are humbled and deeply honored by the support we have received and continue to receive," said Jerilee Drynan.

"The support literally saves animals' lives. Currently, I have three dogs at the vet with broken legs; those donations go directly into animal care and treatment," she added.

Three Rivers has six full-time staff members, including the Drynans, and 10 core volunteers. "We would love to have more — dog walkers, foster homes and general labor, people who want to come and clean and hug puppies," she said.

In 2017, the shelter placed 1,023 animals, up from 900 the previous year.

The old shelter, which will be painted to match the new shelter, will be used for isolation for dogs and some cats. Last year, they placed 175 cats, which must be observed for 14 days and tested for feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus.

Big news in The Dalles

The new building is not the only news at Three Rivers Humane Society, which just announced that it is merging with Home At Last Humane Society, of The Dalles, which the Drynans operated from 2010-2012. The merger will not change local operations.

"We were notified through acquaintances in The Dalles that Home At Last was struggling, and were asked if there was anything we could do," said Steve Drynan. "The director had left, and the current board was doing all they could to keep it afloat. We then contacted Wasco County to act as liaison with their board to broach the subject of a merger."

"After a meeting and several phone conversations, both boards working together decided that a merger, where Central Oregon Animal Friends would take the governing role, was in the best interest of Home At Last," he said. "The current board would then become a fundraising committee for the shelter."

"We would also like reassure the donors of both organizations that both shelters will be operated independently and your donations will stay in your respective communities," said Jerilee Drynan.

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