The Oregon Ferret Shelter is up and running in Prineville, Oregon. It's quite a difference from our old shelter.
First, it is way off the beaten path for most of our Portland friends. It's a good three or four hours away from us.
Second, the ferrets have their own shelter area. They have plenty of room in their new building that is dedicated to keeping ferrets. (Right now, it's also keeping the Mathises' dogs until the kennels are finished.) It has a sturdy foundation, a well-built walls and roof, and is quite spacious. When things settle down and finally get in place, it's going to be a great place for the furkids.
Right now, there are a lot of adjustments that have to be made. The Mathises were in their Oregon City home for more than 20 years. Can you imagine living in a home for 20 years, planning to live there until you die, then some bureaucrat screws you into leaving your beloved home and starting everything over? That's what happened to these upstanding, generous, and kind folks. It's going to take some time to get everything functioning like it used to.
The ferrets are doing just fine. The thing we need most is people who will drive out to Prineville and adopt the furkids. Seems like getting people to go out there is turning out to be more difficult than we thought.
We're all thinking happy thoughts and trying to do the other part of our mission -- to educate people about ferrets so that every ferret can live in a loving, educated home that can fill ferrets' very unique needs.
Clackamas County's constant harassment has finally succeeded in closing down our Oregon City-based ferret shelter, the Oregon Ferret Shelter. Chris Mathis and her husband Dave, co-owners of the OFS, have finally run out of money to appease the County's new regulations and legal harassment. I will be investigating the paper trail this week and trying to find out who is responsible for this attack on the shelter. I will try to find out which bureaucrat decided that Oregon City didn't need a ferret shelter, one that has run for almost 30 years with no government contributions, one of the only no-kill shelters that accommodate ferrets on the west coast, a Federal 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was a last refuge for these unique pets and served a need that the Portland Humane Society refuses to fill, and one of the best-known volunteer-driven animal rescues in the world.
"If you haven't already heard the flash news, the OFS is going to relocate in Prineville, Oregon in December. We are looking to start a satellite shelter in the Metro area that can take in and place ferrets down here. If you are at all interested, please give us a call. We have a good support group already established down here so you won't be in the dark."
--Chris Mathis, owner of the Oregon Ferret Shelter
As a volunteer since 2006, I found the OFS to be a place that gave my life purpose again after a genetic condition make me unable to continue my newspaper and magazine work. I'm not the only person who found joy and light through service to Chris and her beloved ferrets. Lifetime achievement award winner, Lin Miller, has been volunteering for almost 20 years. It's going to be a sad time for her and all of the others who made the shelter their home.
We are not just losing an animal rescue. We are losing a family. A close and loving family built through making things a little better for some forgotten animals. Some of us have known Chris and Dave for decades. Almost 30 years of service is a pretty good run. But to us, it just doesn't seem like enough. So please think some good thoughts for us volunteers as we adjust.
And finally, thank you for being a part of our (and the ferrets') lives. May we find a way to continue rescuing these oft-misunderstood, mistreated, and neglected family pets.
Jeni Clark, Director of OFS Communications
Once again, the county is trying to squeeze money out of our shelter. Our victory over the zoning issue seems to have made them even angrier and more aggressive. Since the county representatives were unable to override zoning use for the entire property, they are now coming after the shelter for using their modified garage to hold the shelter cages.
Clackamas County first tried to shut us down by saying we could not have a shelter on farm land and wanted us to get a home business license. We hired a lawyer for $4,000 plus CC fees and got their decision reveresed to our benefit. Now they are trying another technique called "change of use" for our garage! With my husband retiring this month and finances and his recent stroke and pancreatic episode, they have our back against the wall financially. If we do not meet their demands, the shelter will close. That will leave approximately 350 ferrets per year with no place to go! You see, the Oregon Humane Society shut the door on ferrets years ago. Animal Control will pick them up but doesn't keep them. Please help our cause for the sake of the ferrets. We will need to purchase an air scrubber, new lighting, exit signs, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, submit drawings for approval and other structural changes to satisfy them.
--Chris Mathis, owner of the Oregon Ferret Shelter
Please help the ferrets. In Portland, nobody takes ferrets except for us and a handful of other smaller rescues. The Humane Society refuses to handle them. If the OFS shuts down, the Humane Society most likely put down any ferrets that come into their care. This is not a joke or exaggeration -- the Humane Society has put down ferrets when we were an hour late in coming to pick them up. They are proud of the fact that they do not have resources to take care of ferrets, and they do not care to make any. It is very likely that any pet ferrets who get picked up will automatically be put down as a matter of course, even if the owner has them microchipped. Yes, they will kill your lost pets if they find them first.
Please help us. Even a dollar helps. You never know; that dollar might be the very one that saves us.
Last year, we fought the County and won. We were allowed to keep our shelter running with the blessing of the Beavercreek committee. However, this year, the County decided to do it all over again. They think that because they can force us to use our donations for legal fees that they can shut us down. They are right.
Mike McAllister and his fellow politicians have decided, for some reason, that Oregon City should not have a ferret shelter. Even though the shelter has been running for almost 30 years. Even though the shelter serves a very real need in the community (Portland's Humane Society WILL NOT take ferrets in -- they euthanize them). Even though thousands of people have written to express their support for the OFS, people from all over the world and from every demographic. And we are just about out of resources, out of energy, and out of hope.
We have trried to raise money in many many different ways. But we just can't keep doing that. Unless a miracle happens, we will be gone by this time next year.
Stay tuned for more information on this topic. I will put it out as it comes to me. But for right now, start getting used to the idea that no good deed goes unpunished and that we will soon be just a sad memory.
Needed: volunteers for our weekly shelter clean-up day at the new shelter in Prineville. Chris needs new volunteers in the Prineville area. Can you donate a day a week to help? If you can, call Chris at (971) 313-3622.
Still needed: volunteers to do outreaches!
There's been a lot going down at the shelter in the last few weeks. Our shelter dad, Dave Mathis, recently went into the hospital. His salary pays most of the regular funding of the shelter. He has since been released, but some changes are going to have to be made in his life and in the financial future of the OFS.
Some of our shelter furkids were transferred to another shelter so Chris, the owner, would have less to worry about during this tough time. Chris is very grateful to those who have helped her out.
Basically, this post is here to tell you that there are going to be some changes made to the Oregon Ferret Shelter in the next few weeks. Some of them may be large changes. I will keep you updated as I find them out. (I am just a volunteer who covers this page for Chris. I only know what they tell me.)
If you can spare some good thoughts for Chris and Dave during this difficult time, they could really use them.
And if you can spare a few dollars, their Paypal address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to send a check (or a get-well card), send it to:
Oregon Ferret Shelter
3347 SE Umatilla Loop
Prineville, OR 97754
Please make checks out to "Oregon Ferret Shelter".
If you would like to donate using a debit or credit card, their telephone number is (971) 313-3622. Please leave a message if Chris is not able to get to the phone. Things have been quite busy there.