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A community event in Sheridan sparked hope and joy for a local shelter

AJ Evans (Executive Director), Paul DelRossi (Board Member), Jenifer Shassetz (President), and Kelly Blea (Board Member)
Dog and Cat Shelter Inc -Quintana Ballroom
AJ Evans (Executive Director), Paul DelRossi (Board Member), Jenifer Shassetz (President), and Kelly Blea (Board Member)

A New Year’s-Eve Gala hosted in Sherdian raised over $17,000 for a local animal shelter, helping to continue operations during a time when many shelters are hitting capacity.

AJ Evans, the Executive Director of the Dog and Cat Shelter of Wyoming, said you may find more than just dogs and cats there.

“We have about 100 cats, 30 dogs, and the occasional ferret, chicken, guinea pig, hamster, you name it,” said Evans.

The shelter has been in operation since 2002. During the last two decades, it has helped a lot of people find new companions, as well as receiving the occasional donation and some volunteer help as well. However, two Sheridan locals went a step farther than most.

“Julio, and Katyusha Quintana, they're the ones that had reached out and said, we want to do something for the shelter,” said Evans. “In Sheridan, there's not a whole lot going on New Year's Eve, and a lot of people spend all this money to go out of town…So [Julio and Katyusha Quintana said], ‘Okay, let's do something New Year's Eve.’”.

The resulting effort was six months of planning with 14 Wyoming businesses to throw a 1920s-themed New Year's Eve celebration in Sheridan.

“It was amazing and they are actually thinking of potentially doing it again next year,” said Evans.

The community gala raised $17,100 in ticket sales, which Evans said she’s “very, very grateful” for all the work put in by the organizers. The money will help run the shelter and pay employees.

However, Wyoming shelters across the state are facing a similar problem.

“The rescue, the shelters, we are at capacity, and we have waiting lists,” said Evans.

Anincrease in the number of surrenders and strays over the past few months have led to the capacity issue. However, Evans has confidence that the animals will still find homes, and asks the public to consider adoption if they can afford it.

“If the public could make an effort trying to rehome them, that would be wonderful,” she said. “Or try to seek help. As far as dog training goes, a lot of those problems that may potentially want them to surrender [their pet] can be fixed.”

Jordan Uplinger was born in NJ but has traveled since 2013 for academic study and work in Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He gained experience in a multitude of areas, including general aviation, video editing, and political science. In 2021, Jordan's travels brought him to find work with the Wyoming Conservation Corps as a member of Americorps. After a season with WCC, Jordan continued his Americorps service with the local non-profit, Feeding Laramie Valley. His deep interest in the national discourse on class, identity, American politics and the state of material conditions globally has led him to his current internship with Wyoming Public Radio and NPR.
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