Vicki Fuqua, animal lover and owner of Great Oak Pet Resort addressed the Jackson County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday morning requesting assistance for Partners for Pets. Partners for Pets in Marianna is located on the former Dozier School for Boys property, now known as Endeavor and has been for more than 20 years. Fuqua was joined by a standing room only crowd in support of the county assisting with a new home for the no-kill animal facility. With the county being gifted the land by former Governor Rick Scott, the business is searching for an upgraded facility after Hurricane Michael caused severe damage to the shelter.
“We want a state-of-the-art facility and we’re not asking the county to pay for it,” said Vicki Fuqua, Partners for Pets board president. Fuqua told the commissioners and those present they are searching feverishly for grant possibilities to assist with funding, avoiding any costs to the county. Instead, the Partners for Pets board plans to ask for a partnership with the county as well as a bit of land to build a new facility, “We’re going to go to different towns where they have shelters and see what they’re doing in the way of fundraising and of the shelter. I want to get a good layout a good plan so that when we build, we’re doing it right this time,” said Fuqua.
Partners for pets has three paid employees. Any other money that comes in goes right back to the shelter and the pets. Fuqua told the standing-room only crowd at the Commissioner meeting Tuesday morning that the facility receives $500 from the City of Marianna and $1000 from Jackson County.” Fuqua added their only other income was from donations and fees charged for adoption of animals.
Fuqua said many volunteers have stepped in to help get the business get back up to par over the past few months. With newly appointed board members in charge, they’re tracking down as many grants and donations as they can for the shelter. There was a round of applause when Fuqua concluded her request to the county.
The Commission asked County Administrator Wilanne Daniels to look into the matter and report back as progress continued with the county and the property at Endeavor.
Daniels said in an interview following Tuesday’s meeting, “I advised the board to allow us to continue to work with Partners for Pets as we continue our master planning for the Endeavor property. We are not to the point where it would be a good idea to commit to any long-term plan with any one individual or business until we have our master plan approved by the board. As we go through that process that we are working with Melvin Engineering on, as we go through that master planning process, I asked the board to authorize me to allow me to keep them in mind as we do that planning and find where the best location on that property would be if the board was inclined to do something like that.”
Daniels said she was confident the board sees the value in partnering with Partners for Pets because it was a great benefit to the community, “The fact is that we have an animal control department that would see an increase in animals we would have to accommodate if we didn’t have Partners for Pets in the community.” Daniels said she was confident the board would be in favor of the nonprofit and to see them stay in the community.
The turnout of supporters of Partners for Pets at the meeting was a huge indicator of the feelings of the citizens of Jackson County. The TIMES office had in excess of 100 emails, calls, and texts in support of the county assisting with a new facility at Endeavor.