ALWAYS & FUREVER MIDWEST ANIMAL SANCTUARY
HOMESTEAD CUP NARRATIVE
General Description of Proposed Use:
Always & Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary (“A&F”) is a 501(c)(3) animal rescue network licensed by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and currently located on 5 acres at 23595 W. 223rd St., Spring Hill, Kansas. In the early days, A&F was nothing more than a converted barn for up to 19 senior dogs to live out the rest of their days surrounded by love, a true senior sanctuary (the “Little Red Barn”). Founded by Jennifer Dulski in 2018, A&F has since transformed into a professional rescue network and licensed animal shelter in Missouri to which we have a network of over 300 fosters throughout Kansas and Missouri and over the past 4+ years has saved more than 3,000 animal lives with the assistance of a small, dedicated staff and many passionate and wonderful volunteers. In 2022, A&F acquired a 40-acre tract immediately east of its current location with the intent to develop and operate an expanded rescue network/kennel operation to be called the “Homestead.” This new location will be used to save the lives of all the homeless and surrendered dogs and cats of Miami County and beyond. The Homestead will also be a licensed “animal shelter” by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and our Little Red Barn will continue to run as a separate licensed animal rescue network on the existing 5 acres.
The Homestead is designed to be one of, if not the, premier animal shelter facility in the United States. The large acreage of the Homestead allows ample space for the construction of several shelters (”barns”) to house all types of pets and personalities – puppies, hospice cats, only-pet dogs, in secure and safe environments. The Homestead will look nothing like a stereotypical “kennel.” A&F’s standard of care is unquestionably the highest in the industry. Animals are not locked in cages unattended all day or put into runs to come and go without supervision. Instead, each barn on the Homestead will do it’s best to model a home-like environment inside and out, and will have outdoor fenced yards where the dogs are allowed to play during the day under careful supervision of trained staff.
Each dog barn on the property will also have six-foot, double gated privacy (wood) fenced in yards surrounding them so that when a dog is walked out the back it is straight into a yard. There will be no indoor/outdoor runs or dog doors. The yards give each barn an outdoor play area specific for their groups and there will be other six-foot (wood) fenced in play yards throughout the Homestead. Every fence will have two gates for safety. Additionally, the barns will also have specific rooms where staff or, if permitted-as scheduled, volunteers can visit certain barns which will be equipped with couches, TVs and toys. These “cuddle rooms” will further human and dog socialization skills and create a homelike environment to help prepare them for adoptions. When dogs are walked on one of the trails in the Homestead trails, they will always be double-leashed. No dog will ever be loose or run free on the Homestead, except in the fenced-in yards with trained staff. Moreover, A&F invests significantly in trained handlers to teach animal social skills. No dog is ever left outdoors at night. All animals will be kept indoors to sleep in comfort and safety in a secure setting.
The Homestead’s operating hours will be 7 am to 7 pm. The morning shift will begin with quick walks, clean ups, and breakfast and then their day will be filled with human and animal socialization and training. The evening shift ends with last walks and tuck-ins and most importantly allows our staff to safely drive home and have quiet hours. The Homestead will have security measures in place to ensure no animals can escape the property, including a 6-foot black chain-link fence surrounding the perimeter and two secured gated entries.
The Homestead contains significant natural landscaping which will be preserved as much as possible except for the barn structures, numerous walking paths, and several pavilions (covered areas with picnic tables for humans and animals to rest and enjoy the scenery). This will help provide a buffer area for adjacent properties and provide fewer distractions for our animals.
In the first phase, A&F will construct a building to serve as the new official Miami County Shelter and replace the current Osawatomie Pound (the “Pound”) that presently takes in the strays, homeless or surrendered dogs and cats from Miami County, Paola, and Osawatomie. For the past four years, A&F has been the sole caretaker of the animals at the Pound, providing all staffing and medical needs without charge. Before A&F’s involvement, the majority of the animals at the Pound were mass-euthanized for space, but since A&F took over operations not a single animal has been put to sleep for lack of space. The new Miami County Shelter on the Homestead will continue to be run by A&F, supported through donations at no cost to Miami County or any participating cities (currently anticipating Paola, Osawatomie, Spring Hill and Louisburg).
There will also be several “Big Red Barns” constructed on the Homestead grouped for various ages, sizes, temperament and play style. Each of these barns will be designed/constructed similarly. However, younger dogs may be sectioned off in wings in each of the buildings to allow for controlled, and safe play. Puppies need other puppies or dogs to teach each other and learn how to play and interact with humans and dogs. Another barn will be dedicated to “little” dogs only (”Little Pups Barn”). A 14-year-old Chihuahua and a 10-year-old Great Dane might be best friends in a home they have lived in together, but if exposed to a new environment they should be separated to eliminate any uncertainty or accidents. Other structures at the Homestead, include the new “Little Red Barn”, which will be modeled after the current Little Red Barn where senior dogs can live out their days surrounded by love, care and respect. A new concept to be developed at the Homestead will feature 7 Retirement Home Dog Villas, which are comprised of 4 “tiny homes” for dogs that may need longer or specialized care and training in an individualized setting. Each tiny home will have its own fenced-in yard, with one dog per tiny home which allows for a calmer environment.
A new Feline Family Facility will be constructed on the Homestead to provide a safe and secure temporary and forever home for our cats. It will consist of various wings, segregated for new-born kittens, pregnant mamas, those in need of medical separate spaces, and a senior feline area. The cats will not be allowed outside to protect them from the elements. Double-gated entries will be used to protect against human error. The only feral cats that will be on the Homestead are those brought in by animal control to the Miami County Shelter which would all be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and then placed through our adoption process to live in barns. No A&F cats will be roaming free on the Homestead.
The Homestead will also include an Administration Building for office administrative purposes for our financial, adoption and foster teams. This building will also allow for small, scheduled gatherings for community events, as well as a space to allow pets to socialize, learn, and train. It will also be frequently used for, scheduled meet & greets with respect to potential foster or adoption placement for the families to meet our animals. These appointments will vary depending on the degree of interest in our pets. Scheduled monthly community events such as inviting senior citizens over for pancakes on Sundays to socialize with our senior dogs will occur in the communal area of the Administration Building and will be invitation/RSVP only.
A single-family residence will be constructed on the Homestead to allow an A&F Team member to live on-site, so there is always a person on the Homestead in case of an emergency.
The Homestead will be a private facility and visitors will be by appointment only. Visitors will be allowed to bring their dogs to the Administration Building for scheduled meet and greets, dog intros or as predetermined by staff. The Homestead also will have a Veterinary Barn to serve the needs of the Miami County Shelter animals and A&F animals in our care. Please refer to the charts below for detailed information on the phases of construction, animal capacity, staffing and traffic utilization.
The ultimate goal for every animal on the Homestead is to find them a safe, loving, forever home. Most go through our foster program while we advocate for them and tell their stories on our website and social media platforms. If a foster/adopter cannot be secured, they will stay on the Homestead. Knowing and appreciating the precious life and future of every animal in our custody drives our standard of care to be as impeccable as possible. Our dream is to wake up to a world where every animal is treated with kindness, dignity, respect and most importantly their lives have been touched by love, even if only for a moment. We know this is a big request and change is not easy, but this is a journey we are whole-heartedly committed to, one which we are not only improving the lives of the animals in our care, but also for the lives of people involved and the community around us. If along the way we have motivated just one person to change and treat an animal better, then together we are changing the world – one soul at a time.
If you’re an animal lover please look at our website or visit us on Facebook so you can see firsthand how we treat our animals. We will always believe with all our hearts it really is never too late for happily ever after. We welcome the opportunity to answer any further questions about our operations so that everyone will feel comfortable and proud to have Always & Furever be the model for other rescues and shelters, demonstrating how one dream really can change the world.
Always & Furever
Per the request from Miami County to have a Certified Traffic Impact Study, Always & Furever engaged Priority Engineering, Inc. This study documents the impact of the full build-out of the proposed Always & Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary on the surrounding roadway network. In addition to the AM and PM Peak Hours used for design hours, additional more conservative scenarios were included. These scenarios are not to be considered as design peak hours, but were supplied as additional information to demonstrate the magnitude of traffic that could be added to W 223rd Street without adversely impacting levels of service or requiring a turn lane. Even based on the most conservative estimates for this development, a left turn lane is not warranted. Right turning vehicles would need to be present in the peak hour to warrant a right turn lane. The traffic volumes at this location fall far below these volumes. Overall, the traffic anticipated to be generated by this site is minor, and will not result in lowered levels of service, queueing, or increased delays. The proposed drive and service road should be constructed to the standards of Miami County. No additional improvements are recommended as a result of this development.