WAIF breaking ground on facility

After roughly 10 years of fundraising, supporters of Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation are finally seeing their dreams come to fruition.

WAIF will break ground on a new facility 2 p.m. Sunday, July 27 at the location south of Coupeville.

Oak Harbor–based company P&L Construction was selected as the general contractor for the project.

“Many people in the community have been waiting patiently for this endeavor to take hold,” said Bob Rupp, president of the WAIF Board of Directors. “With the selection of P&L Construction, we expect things to move quickly and at an efficient pace after we break ground.”

The new 12,544-square-foot shelter structure will sit on 9.8 acres and offer an expanded spay and neuter surgical suite, six acres of dog walking trails, capacity to house 140 cats, increased kennel space for dogs, modern ventilation and sanitation systems for disease control, dedicated intake areas, adoption rooms, isolation units, grooming space and an area for training and education.

Work has already been done to establish the infrastructure for the new shelter, such as septic systems, electricity, phones and Internet.

The organization has reached more than 75 percent of its $3.8 million goal.

WAIF Executive Director Charles Vreeland said the bulk of the fundraising has happened in the last three years.

“Everyone believes Whidbey Island deserves this shelter,” he said. “Momentum is really ramping up for WAIF’s exciting next chapter.

“People are encouraged to see such progress take place, and though we have a little ways to go, the community continues to step up with donations to see the new shelter come to fruition. It’s a transformative time not only for WAIF but the island as well.”

The minimal-kill shelter has had an average live release rate of 93.4 percent over the last 14 years.

The national threshold for a “no-kill” shelter is 90 percent, Vreeland said.

WAIF does not euthanize animals because of overcrowding issues but does occasionally have to euthanize for health or aggression problems.

Currently the organization has about 150 volunteers and is always seeking additional help.

WAIF currently is serving around 170 animals, but has served as many as 1,500 animals in year’s time.

The ground breaking will be held at the location of the new shelter, which is about a half-mile from the current Coupeville location.

It is right off State Highway 20 near Rhododendron Park.

For more information about WAIF’s new shelter, go to


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