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Animal shelter needs assistance

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As one of the founders and a driving force of Mission Valley Animal Shelter for over 30 years, I am not hopeful about our future. The problem of stray dogs and dog packs in our area has worsened significantly and MVAS, as a small, privately-operated animal shelter, does not have the facility or funding to be a solution to this problem alone. Our kennel space is limited and we are at or over capacity all the time, unable to handle the large number of stray dogs, I fear a real tragedy in the making. Dogs are killing animals, biting children, and attacking people.

For several years, we have suffered from understaffing at both the animal shelter and the thrift store. Currently, we have closed the shelter to the public because of staffing issues and are open only by appointment.  

We need reliable employees and volunteers at both facilities but currently especially at the animal shelter. We basically are operating the animal shelter with three long-time employees, and that is not sustainable. The dogs and cats in our care require 7 days a week of attention. Volunteers have always been a vital part of our operations, and we need them now until the labor market improves.

While we have worked endlessly and successfully over the years to obtain funding for our operations, we have now reached the point that such funding is insufficient to handle the escalating problem of stray dogs, and does not send people to our doors who need a job and want to work with animals. We need reliable people to care for, feed and exercise the animals and maintain a professional atmosphere. We have advertised for help frequently and raised our starting hourly rates but for several years have failed to find qualified applicants, if we even have applicants for a job opening.

We are proud of the thousands and thousands of dogs and cats we have been able to help and to provide with a better life over 30 years. If the animal shelter were to cease operations, the animals and people in our community suffer. Is there a feasible option for these animals? What happens when a tragedy occurs because of the stray dog problem that currently exists?

Unless some people in our community who are committed to our mission step up and come forward to help us solve our staffing problems, the very existence of the Mission Valley Animal Shelter is in jeopardy.

Please call us at 406-883-5312 or send an email to if you are willing to help.

Sharon Hawke

Board Member

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