Howling Ridge Animal Rescue shutting down

TONASKET – After rescuing animals for 20 years for no fee, Wendy Steever is closing Howling Ridge Rescue and starting a new rescue business.

“We’ve been rescuing for years and I want to say that Howling Ridge has been open since 2000,” Steever said. “We’ve been doing this for free for 20 years and I can’t do this anymore. It’s a lot of work.”

Steever said that after Howling Ridge is officially shut down on Dec. 31 she is planning to open a private animal rescue business which will offer boarding, training, transportation and rescue but at a fee. She said the business should be open as soon as she can think of a name for it and once she has everything with Howling Ridge finalized.

“What I’m having a problem with is that the county should provide animal control,” Steever said. “I’m trying to get the county to do their job and provide animal control. It’s hard to keep funding up for a nonprofit because this is such a poor county, you usually have to go outside the county and that makes it hard.”

Steever said she is still willing to help people in the time between when Howling Ridge closes and she opens her new business, but that it depends on the situation.

“I just need a little bit of a breather during the transition,” she added. “There’s a lot of paperwork to be done and it’s very time consuming.”

She said that she isn’t sure what kind of fee she’ll charge people at the new business but that it will probably be somewhere between $75 and $100 because she doesn’t let dogs leave her care until they have gone through vaccinations, worming and alterations. She added that a lot of dogs have to be transported to the coast because there aren’t enough homes for them in Okanogan County and that the fee will help cover that cost as well.

“I’m sorry I can’t be there for people like I was anymore,” Steever said. “I’ve been doing this for half my life and I’m just thankful for the support the community has given in the past.”