FOTAS lease not being extended, volunteers voice their displeasure

PHOENIX, Ore. – Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS) will be leaving the Jackson County Animal Services building, but not voluntarily.

The county has decided not to renew FOTAS’s lease in the building, a space they’ve occupied alongside the county for over a decade.

The county says it simply needs more space.

“The decision to terminate the lease really has nothing to do with the relationship that we have and want to continue to have with FOTAS, we just need the space for our own staff,” Stacy Brubaker, the Director of Health and Human Services in Jackson County, said.

Volunteers at FOTAS packed the board of commissioners meeting on Wednesday to voice their displeasure over the move.

“People are leaving. Once you lose volunteers, they aren’t going to come back. I love animals, and it’s just frustrating to see our help kind of being pushed away it feels like,” FOTAS volunteer Jim Bowen said.

Bowen said that volunteers are now unable to come in on Mondays because of the county, and claimed because of it, dogs are not being walked for up to 40 hours sometimes.

FOTAS released a statement Thursday saying, “We feel that many of these changes have not been made in the animals’ best interest, but rather from a bureaucratic standpoint.”

The county says they are working with FOTAS on a new use-agreement to provide space for the volunteers when they are on-site.

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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