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Refuge will have opening June 1

Special to the HDN

ELLIS -- The Western Plains Animal Refuge, a local no-kill animal shelter, will have its grand opening from 5 to 10 p.m. June 1 at the new facility, which is located at 1750 130th Ave., Ellis.

There will be an open house, a potluck dinner, live music and a reception. The event is free and open to the public, but donations are encouraged. Individuals also are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and bring a dish to share at the potluck.

Founded in 2006 by veterinarian Jessica Braun, the refuge began as a domestic animal shelter and wildlife rehabilitation center in Hays. For years, it was one of only a few such organizations and the only one that served both domestic and wild animals. When Braun closed her private veterinary practice in 2011, a new team of directors sought to reopen the refuge.

In the summer of 2012, a building outside of Ellis was donated to WPAR destined to become the new facility. After months of fundraising and  renovations, the Kopfman-Petco Foundation Animal Shelter opened this spring.  Since its founding, WPAR has helped improve the lives of more than 1,500 animals.

WPAR is a nonprofit organization, so donations are tax-deductible.