BI couple gives $1 million for KHS veterinary center

Youngs say the community has a responsibility to care for animals

A $1 million gift given for the second phase of the Kitsap Humane Society’s capital campaign has brought the total to more than $5.2 million of the estimated $8.5 million to $9 million needed to build a veterinary lifesaving center.

Bainbridge Island residents Russ and Linda Young, who have been longtime supporters of the Silverdale organization, said they have been passionate about helping pets at the nonprofit since moving to Kitsap County 24 years ago.

“It all started with donating blankets [handsewn by Linda] and a conversation with the director of shelter medicine, Dr. Jen Stonequist, about what we could do to lend a hand,” the couple shared in a KHS statement announcing the donation.

“Dogs are at the center of our 41-year marriage. And it has set the stage for every dog we’ve rescued and, ultimately, this gift we want to give in support of KHS and this critical project. Our passion has always been pets and lifting up our community.”

With their gift to KHS, the future vet clinic will be named the Russ & Linda Young Veterinary Lifesaving Center, officials said in a news release. Plans are afoot to break ground on the facility in 2022 and fully open it for shelter and owned-pet care in 2023.

In their statement, the Youngs said the community has a moral obligation to take care of its animals. “It’s the only humane thing to do,” the couple stated. “Given all that animals do for us, we owe it to provide them with proper and affordable veterinary care.”

The future veterinary center will triple the size and space of the shelter’s current medical facilities, provide reduced-fee veterinary services to low-income families through a new community clinic, include expanded and enhanced treatment and surgery areas for critical care patients, and [provide] a quieter and less stressful area for pets to recover, as well as on-demand access to critical medical equipment.

“More than ever, it is time to provide our community’s pets in need with a veterinary facility that matches the excellence of our work and sustains our high lifesaving rate,” KHS’s executive director Lee Harper said. “The last year and a half have truly showcased the critical bond between pets and their people.”