Encore Enrichment Center for Shelter Animals says funding issues may force it to close

Funds, volunteers needed for Encore Enrichment Program for Dogs

ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - The staff at an animal training facility in Anniston say they’ve been successful at getting dogs adopted. Out of 176 dogs over the last two years, 129, about 60%, have been adopted.

Recently one dog named Butler, was making the rounds with a group of volunteers, being rewarded with cheese cubes. Another dog, Patsy, ran up to a man with her tail wagging, even though she’s said to be usually shy around men.

The Encore Enrichment Center for Shelter Dogs has, for the last two years, trained dogs at area shelters to make them more adoptable. They've set up partnerships with League for Animal Welfare, Calhoun County Humane Society, Rockin P Rescue, and Pell City Animal Control, to train their dogs. They come to one of the shelters each day in a van and pick up five or six dogs.

However, despite their high success rate, they've had trouble raising money.

A message on their Facebook page and their website says they may even have to close.

"We believed that by meeting a critical gap in shelter dog care , we would be able to secure grants and donations. Those, along with proceeds from training classes and room rentals, would cover the cost of Encore operations," the message says. "Sadly, this has not happened."

Co-founder Julie Madden says she and her husband, Tom, have been using their retirement savings to pay for the shelter's operation. She says they gave themselves two years.

She says because they don't actually shelter animals, they've had a hard time getting grants to pay for everything.

"We work with shelters, but we're not a shelter, we work with rescues, but we're not a rescue," says Madden. "So they're not our dogs."

“It’s a big job, to try to successfully write grants, and reach out to the community, and be able to tell your story in such a way that they really get what it is you do, and why it’s important, and how it’s giving back,” Madden said.

The center's operators are still looking for donations, and for volunteers who can fundraise.

Their website, eec4sd.org, is set up to take donations by Paypal or credit card.

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