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Black Dog Animal Rescue Executive Director Britney Wallesch discusses all of the areas in need of repairs on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, at the rescue’s facility on East Ninth Street in Cheyenne. Black Dog Animal Rescue is working to raise money for building repairs. Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – When the Black Dog Animal Rescue staff first moved into their new 5,000-square-foot facility at 2407 E. Ninth St. last year, they expected some renovations.

What they didn’t expect is extensive water damage in the walls, moldy insulation and crumbling ceilings.

“We put new insulation in late spring before the heavy rains, and later realized we have significant roof problems,” Black Dog Executive Director Britney Wallesch said. “The new insulation alone cost $10,000, and we’ll have to replace that again. When we moved in, the roof had passed inspection."

On top of that, the water heater recently rusted out through the bottom, further damaging the building’s infrastructure. Ceiling skylights need to be replaced, and rainwater regularly pours into employees’ work space.

“The ceiling in my office actually collapsed on top of my desk,” Wallesch said.

There’s also no central air conditioning in much of the space.

“Before we put in any kind of air conditioning, we were told we had to fix the insulation,” Wallesch said. “Many animals make a pit stop here for medical and behavior evaluations before they’re placed in foster homes. I’d say we’ve had almost 400 animals in here just this year.”

Black Dog places hundreds of adoptable animals with temporary foster families each year, acting as a resource to regional shelters that may otherwise have to euthanize hard-to-place animals.

“Last summer, we had to bring in a portable air conditioner just to help keep it cool,” said Board President Serenity Moffett. “There really isn’t any air circulation for them.”

Now, they’re asking the community to pitch in.

The drainage problems aren’t minor. Once, following a big rescue, more than a dozen cats had to be evacuated after two inches of standing water flooded their holding area.

“It had just barely not come into the cages with the cats,” Wallesch said.

They’d like to remove and replace the backyard’s asphalt, too, because the heat and chemicals are hard on dogs’ feet as they exercise.

It would cost tens of thousands of dollars just to repair and replace the necessities.

Unlike the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, which supplies the city’s animal control officers, Black Dog Animal Rescue doesn’t receive any public funding. More than 80% of the group’s revenue comes from private contributions. The Cheyenne Animal Shelter received thousands more in public funding this year for building repairs.

“Our adoption fees are really only enough to pay for the veterinary expenses we incur to take care of our animals,” Wallesch said. “Anything else – rent, staff, insurance, the software system – none of that is paid for by adoption fees. It is much more expensive to run these programs and care for these animals than people understand.”

One of the best ways to help is through Black Dog’s Constant Companion Club, or an automatic monthly donation. There’s a number of annual fundraisers to participate in, too.

“We’re very thankful for all of the support that the community has given,” Moffett said. “We know we can do so much yet in different capacities.”

For more information, visit www.bdar.org/donate.

Chrissy Suttles is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s business and health reporter. She can be reached at csuttles@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3183. Follow her on Twitter at @chrissysuttles.

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