Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter

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UPAWS Announces Phased Construction Timeline

Negaunee, MI- At its annual meeting on May 30, the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter announced to our members the plan to move forward with a phased construction schedule for its bold and innovative goal to build an animal community center.  UPAWS Board of Directors has approved schematic designs, created in collaboration by a team of architects, engineers, animal shelter experts, and project manager, to realize this ambitious vision for the new generation of animal welfare. The new shelter will integrate community programming and direct animal care into its operation, and create new approaches for the collaboration of animal lovers in animal welfare.

The new animal shelter will be more than just an animal shelter, it will engage the community in a way that UPAWS is currently unable.  Approximately 4 times its current size, the animal shelter will completely realign dog kennels and cat areas, while also adding dedicated space for small critters and a fully functional pole barn for the rescue of large and farm animals, particularly horses.  The community center aspect includes a community education room, fenced-in year round dog park, and private spaces for adoption counseling or to surrender an animal.

The $3.7M construction project will transform and reinvent the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter 40 years after it was founded. After thorough research and deliberation, the board of directors has decided to move forward with a phased construction schedule.  This will allow the land to be cleared, the road created, and the shell of the building constructed and winterized.  Phase 1 will begin July 2017, expects to last 6 months, and will cost 35% ($1.47M). Phase 2 will include the electrical, plumbing, interior work, community dog park, and pole barn construction to bring the project to completion.  Phase 2 is expected to begin when UPAWS reaches 80 percent of its fundraising goal ($2.96M) and last 5 months. Currently, UPAWS has raised $2.34 (as of May 31).

“The board of directors is keenly aware of the unique construction schedule we have in Marquette County.  By using this phased approach we are setting ourselves up for the most success, when it comes to bidding packages to local contractors and inhabiting the building.  Our current shelter simply doesn’t work anymore – UPAWS will face serious challenges if we delay the first phase even a few months, which (given our construction season) will likely push ground breaking and site-prep to spring of 2018.  After meeting with the expertise of our contract manager and team, and taking a close look of what we have ‘in the bank,’ we realized that the best avenue for success is to conduct site-prep, build and winterize the building, and provide the opportunity to bid the final phase to sub-contractors and inside work during the ‘off-season’.  We continue our commitment not to begin phase two until we reach 80% success in our fundraising goal and we expect to reach that during 2017,” stated Amber Wetton, board chair.

Executive Director, Kori Tossava, agreed. “This version of a phased project really does set up UPAWS for the best opportunity for success. We sat down, as a group, and looked at the hard work and dedication of the volunteers and staff of UPAWS to raise the current funds.  Knowing now that we are within reach of our fundraising goal and be able to build the shelter without interruption, we felt it was important to get the initial phases started leaving us time to raise the final amount.  The timing, for U.P. construction, was very much a factor as we looked at what this spring and summer offered versus trying to break ground in an unpredictable fall.”

For more information on UPAWS, the Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign for an Animal Community Center, or the phased construction timeline you may call (906) 475-6661 or email ktossava@upaws.org.


UPAWS Launches Business PAWtner Program



UPAWS Hosts Series of Community Forums

UPAWS will host a series of community forums to discuss the plans for the new shelter!  Join us at one of the four forums- 2 in Marquette City, 1 in Ishpeming, and 1 in Gwinn for YOUR chance to find out about our plans! Check the UPAWS facebook page for details!


Thank you to our local media partners for sponsoring the New Animal Community Center!  We could not tell our story without your help!

Pet Education Library


Real Life Room

Landscape Sponsors in Community Dog Park 


The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter is excited to announce a $100,000 matching gift for our Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign for a new shelter.  The gift will be used toward to the $3.7M fundraising goal and every dollar given to the new shelter campaign will be matched.

The matching gift is given by Mr. Martin Steindler, in memory of his wife, Joan.  Joan was a long-time advocate for the no-kill movement and lover of golden retrievers.  The Steindlers have spent over 35 years coming to Marquette County during the summers and have been committed to animal shelters that ‘take whoever walks in the door’.  Kori Tossava, UPAWS Executive Director, stated, “We are so grateful for this gift in memory of Joan and for the support of Mr. and Mrs. Steindler over the years. As we move closer to realizing our dream of a new animal shelter, we are also dreaming of ways that it can be so much more- that it can engage the community in ways we just can’t right now.  Our successes in the no-kill movement would not be possible without the support of our community and this matching gift will help move UPAWS into a new generation of no-kill.  Joan’s legacy will benefit homeless animals for years to come!”

The current UPAWS facility was built in 1978 and expanded in 1988. Animal intake and services at UPAWS has grown dramatically since its inception 40 years ago, but not the shelter space. An average of 1,500 animals come through UPAWS open-admission, no kill shelter each year. UPAWS performs the crucial role of finding homes for homeless animals, as well as reuniting lost pets with their families, and is a leader in the no-kill movement by consistently reaching an award-winning 98% Save Rate.

Beyond the small building size, many other issues compound the problem of providing a healthy and comfortable space for homeless animals, staff, and volunteers. Building issues include: poor ventilation, power shortages, low water pressure, uneven heat distribution, mold, leaking roof, and close, small quarters creating high stress levels for animals, all of which generates a tougher adoption environment. Caring staff and volunteers at UPAWS have succeeded in making the best effort to run the shelter effectively and efficiently, but the building still lacks in meeting the basic needs for both animals and the community. The Animal Community Center will provide better comfort and care for our animal companions, as well as community space and expanded services.

The Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign to raise $3.7 million is underway. Over $2.2M has been raised and dedicated to the Animal Community Center, but we have a long way to go. As animal shelters are held to higher standards, as well as serving more diverse needs, it takes a cooperative spirit to fulfill the goal of a new facility that serves our animal companion needs and the community as a whole.


The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter is pleased to announce mBank’s support of the Imagine the PAWSibilities Capital Campaign.  As a lead giver in the campaign for an animal community center, mBank has sponsored landscaping at the new shelter.

About mBank: mBank has 23 branch locations, with 12 in the Upper Peninsula, 3 in the Northern Lower Peninsula, 1 in Oakland County, MI and 7 in Northern Wisconsin. The Company’s banking services include commercial lending and treasury management products and services geared toward small to mid-sized businesses, as well as a full array of personal and business deposit products and consumer loans.  mBank’s vision is to be a strong, dynamic, and proactive thinking company determined to excel at the highest level.

About UPAWS: To date, UPAWS has raised approximately $2.2M of the $3.7M project to build an animal shelter that can be more than an animal shelter, it can be an animal community center. The campaign will retire 40 year old facility that currently houses UPAWS and the 1,500 animals that come through the doors every year. UPAWS has a consistent award winning 98% save rate and is in dire need of a new facility. To find out more about UPAWS and the capital campaign, visit upaws.org or email ktossava@upaws.org.

Pictured- Left to Right –
Jamie Van Buren, Teresa Same, Kori Tossava (UPAWS Executive Director) & Rufus, Bethany Cody


The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter is pleased to announce support from the Upper Peninsula Health Plan for the Imagine the PAWSibilities Capital Campaign. UPHP sponsored UPAWS Staff Offices by providing approximately $10,000 of furnishings and equipment for the new shelter. Dennis Smith, UPHP President & CEO, stated, “We understand the stress and financial burden that moving to a new location can cause. Donating our used office furniture and appliances will not only help UPAWS function successfully and smoothly, but allow staff to focus on the needs of the pets and the potential owners taking in the wonderful animals that they help.” THANK YOU Upper Peninsula Health Plan for your support!

About UPHP: The mission of UPHP is to be an innovative health plan managing the care of our members in the Upper Peninsula guiding them to quality, cost-effective care through our network of providers improving the overall health of the communities we serve. To learn more about UPHP and their services, visit uphp.com.


Pictured- Left to Right – Back Row: Chelsey Poirier, Sara Bjork, Nicole Jacobson, Scott Lyman, Bridget Uren, Jackie Bessner, Tracy Magnuson
Front Row: Kori Tossava (UPAWS Executive Director), Coleen Pepin

The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter is pleased to announce Iron Range Agency‘s support of the Imagine the PAWSibilities Capital Campaign. Iron Range Agency has graciously sponsored the Outdoor Play Yard at the new shelter.

About Iron Range Agency: Iron Range Agency, located in Ishpeming, consists of a management team that has a combined total of over 100 years with the agency. They continue to operate with the same core values and customer service standards that have been the foundation of the agency since it started in 1971. Community involvement is a cornerstone value at Iron Range Agency, as it supports a number of community organizations and employees are active in many local and civic organizations throughout Marquette County. To find out more about Iron Range Agency visit www.ironrangeagency.com



 At its sold-out annual fundraising gala the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter announced the public kick-off for the Imagine the PAWSibilites: Campaign for an Animal Community Center.  The kick-off included a $100,000 challenge match from the Troudt Fund at the Community Foundation of Marquette County. From October 22 through December 31 every dollar given to the capital campaign would be matched.

UPAWS reached $100,000 in gifts on December 29th; at that time Mark and Christine Troudt pledged another $10,000 to match any gift received or postmarked before the end of the year.  At the completion of the challenge, UPAWS is excited to announce that approximately $120,000 was given in honor of the Troudt Challenge and will now receive the full $110,000 challenge gift! And these gifts came from over 250 individual donors, businesses, and foundations. The board, staff, and volunteers of UPAWS are honored to have such amazing support from the community.

Now that the Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign to raise $3.7 million is underway, with the support of the Troudt Fund and the community, approximately $2.05M (55%) has been raised. However, UPAWS still has a long way to go. Construction will depend on reaching 80% of the fundraising goal, with an expected groundbreaking in 2017.

Contact Us

Phone: (906) 475-6661
Fax: (906) 475-6669
Email: info@upaws.org

Office Hours

Mon-Wed: 12pm to 4pm
Thursday: 12pm to 6:30pm
Friday-Sunday: 12pm-4pm


84 Snowfield Road
Negaunee Township
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