Local animal advocate retires; nonprofit group ends operations

L-R: Santa Clara City Councilwoman Mary Jo Hafen presents Linda Elwell with a bouquet of flowers in appreciation of her work with Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter, Santa Clara, Utah, May 31, 2017 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

IVINS – After 13 years of advocating for animals, a local nonprofit group founded to support the no-kill philosophy will cease operations June 15 following the retirement of one of the group’s founders.

Linda Elwell is one of three original founders of Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter and has served as board president since the group’s inception.

Elwell was honored Wednesday at a regular meeting of the Santa Clara City Council.

“She has done an amazing job with FIAS (Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter),” Councilwoman Mary Jo Hafen said, acting as mayor pro tem.

“(Elwell) is really an amazing advocate of the animals and guided us along in that,” Hafen said, “and we really appreciate her.”

Sampson, one of many dogs helped by Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter, was stabbed and left in the desert to die. After getting medical help, Sampson was placed in a loving forever home, location not specified, Nov. 18, 2014 | Photo courtesy Linda Elwell, St. George News

Elwell spent years campaigning for a no-kill philosophy at Ivins Animal Shelter, an endeavor which ultimately succeeded.

The shelter serves both Santa Clara and Ivins under the supervision of the combined Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department. Both cities have passed ordinances adopting a no-kill status for the shelter.

“It’s not going to effect the no-kill (approach) in Ivins and Santa Clara,” Elwell said, speaking of her retirement.

Elwell is retiring due to family issues but said it is still hard to let go.

“I’m sad to have to stop, but it’s time,” she said.

“It’s been a great experience.”

The board of Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter voted to retire the entire organization, Elwell said.

“No one wanted to take over the responsibilities that I had as president.”

Elwell said the group could not have accomplished what they did without help from the Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends staffers helped set up Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter and helped out with problem animals.

Red Mountain Spa has also been a big supporter, Elwell said, holding regular “Pound Puppy Hikes” that have resulted in several dogs and one cat being adopted by spa guests from as far as Alaska and New Hampshire.

Tuacahn and Kayenta Art Village have also been supportive, Elwell said.

Trooper, one of many dogs helped by Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter, is shown in training. Trooper was abused so badly that he had to have a back leg amputated. After being rescued, Trooper was trained as a service dog and visited veterans at the Southern Utah Veterans Home, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy Linda Elwell, St. George News

The group will accept donations until June 15. At that time, all remaining funds will be used to establish an account with Best Friends Animal Society to be used for animals at the Ivins shelter. Funds will be used for spaying and neutering, vaccinations and other health needs.

To donate to the group before June 15 send checks to:

Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter

661 East 425 South

Ivins, Utah, 84738

Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter is also encouraging its friends and supporters to follow the Ivins Animal Shelter and Adoption Center’s Facebook page.

“We are counting on you to continued (sic) assistance with helping to spread the word about the homeless pets in Ivins and Santa Clara, Utah,” a Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter Facebook post states.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • mmsandie June 1, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    What a great caring person , there should be more people in the world like her. The community thanks her and the animals do,, woof woof and meow…

  • Henry June 1, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you for your years of dedication, Ms Elwell! Your legacy will endure, as needy animals continue to get the care and homes they deserve.

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