A McKenzie County resident wants to open up an animal shelter in the area, and she is preparing to ask local officials for help.
However, some think there may not be a need for it.
Krystal Lapp has lived in McKenzie County for about a year, and she feels there is an issue with the local animal population.
“We noticed the amount of rehoming through social media and Craigslist was astronomical for this area,” said Lapp.
Lapp soon found out there was no local rescue in the area, so she started up her own non-profit in January, Barkin in the Bakken Rescue.
In nine weeks she has rescued 66 animals who are being cared for by 35 foster families.
“We provide all of the food, bowls, leashes. Anything your pet would need. We will provide that,” said Lapp.
Lapp said her rescue relies on donations and fundraising, and she has a donation area set up at Tractor Supply Co. in Watford City where people can donate animal food and supplies.
Now, she said her resources are starting to run thin, and she would like to open up an animal shelter for the area.
Lapp is exploring the idea of asking the City of Watford or the county to donate land or an abandoned building for a non-profit shelter.
“We will have a warm, safe, secure area that people can come into and meet these animals, which would increase their adoptability,” said Lapp.
Before Lapp arrived lost and abandoned animals in city limits were being transported by the Watford City Police Department to the Watford City Veterinary Center.
From there the animals were rehomed through its social media page.
Dr. Bruce Pedersen of the Watford City Veterinary Center said he doesn’t know if there is a need for a shelter at this time, with overcrowding not being an issue for them, and the Mayor of Watford City agrees.
“I don’t know if I would say there is a stray problem. A lot of the animals that are picked up are loose. . . not necessarily stray,” said Philip Riely, Watford City mayor
In 2018 the Police Department’s animal control division transported 129 cats and dogs to the veterinary center, but animal control doesn’t accept animal surrenders.
However, Lapp does which she has identified as the largest area of need.
“That is one of the main issues outside of behavioral issues,” said Lapp.
She said families sometimes have to surrender an animal because of the cost associated with it.
Some families have reported pet deposits at apartment complexes in Watford City ranging from $200 to $700.
“Unable to care for the animal financially, or it wasn’t just a good fit. A lot has to do with housing,” said Lapp.
Watford City’s animal control officer feels a local shelter would help address the areas feral cat problem, and the officer also said the veterinary center sometimes gets filled up during the holiday season when animal owners board their animals there.
Lapp said she also rescues animals from surrounding counties and Eastern Montana who don’t have a local rescue to surrender an animal to, and she plans to take her case to the city and the county in the upcoming weeks.
Lapp said of the 66 animals she’s rescued 44 have found new homes.