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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Former dog rescue seeks help in adoption, fostering, raising funds

Updated: Apr 30

Safe Harbor Sanctuary, formerly Regina's Rescue, has put out the call for help as it is seeking to pare down its population of rescued dogs, which are in danger of being taken away by the state. (Journal file photo)

PARKER – Safe Haven Sanctuary, formerly known as Regina’s Rescue, is under the gun to reduce its population of about 40 dogs down to 19 in less than 60 days. If it can’t find home for those dogs, the Kansas Department of Agriculture will step in and remove the extra dogs.

In the wake of that news, and with the possibility of being assessed a $500 county fine daily until the dogs are gone, owners Regina and Mike McClellan are pleading with area dog lovers to adopt one of their dogs as well as donate to their sanctuary as they scramble to meet the deadline. Although the rescue has stopped taking in new dogs, it still must feed the dogs it has and provide veterinary services where needed.

Regina McClellan said she was also open to people fostering one of her dogs temporarily to help reduce the population.

Metro-area dog adoption advocate Scott Moore of On a Mission KC visited the sanctuary on Wednesday, April 17, to promote the adoption of dogs from the rural Parker-based sanctuary. Here is the link to On a Mission KC’s Facebook page:

Darin Wilson, Linn County zoning administrator, said he was with the state inspector last week during an inspection at the sanctuary. He said the possibility of the county levying a fine is up in the air at this point.

With the resignation of Gary Thompson, former county counselor, the county’s codes court has suspended, at least temporarily. A Mound City attorney who resigned as county counselor last month, Thompson took on the codes court and provided the administrative support needed to run it.

The state shelter license for Regina’s Rescue expired at the end of September last year. The McClellans, after months of trying to work out issues to retain their state license and receive a conditional use permit from the county, decided earlier this year to close the rescue after it had been in operation for eight years.

Early last year, the McClellans went to the county to obtain a building permit for a barn that would be used to kennel many of their more than 50 days. That led to a requirement that the rescue obtain a conditional use permit for the operation.

But some of the neighbors, including non-resident land owners, appeared at the hearing last year for the permit and complained about the barking noise. Regina McClellan said that she was harassed by people she didn’t know because of the rescue operation, and following some health issues, she and her husband made the decision to close.

After making the announcement of a plan to close the rescue operation, Regina McClellan indicated they would apply for a state license to run a sanctuary to keep the 19 dogs they considered not suited for adoption.

The closure of Regina’s Rescues have several area cities scrambling to reopen their kennels or find other no-kill shelters for the stray dogs they collect.

The Mound City Council, which was ready to send their strays to the rescue along with a $150 donation per dog, now is working to reopen its dog pound. So is the city of Parker, which used the no-kill rescue for strays.

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