Dec. 2014 Jefferson Award: Karen Rau - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Dec. 2014 Jefferson Award: Karen Rau

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW) - A Marshfield woman "passionate about animals" and working to build the first-ever permanent animal shelter in town wins the Jefferson Award for December.

Karen Rau started working on the project three years ago.

"I have always been passionate about animals. I was the one who brought home bunnies and squirrels. I just want to give the homeless pets a chance," she said.

Rau organizes volunteers and fundraisers.

"Right now, we have two holding facilities run through boarding kennels. The animals are kept for the required seven days in hopes that their owners will come find them. But strays who go unclaimed are where the problem comes in. If they are not claimed then they have no choice but to euthanize them," Rau said.

Rau and her band of volunteers have opened a temporary shelter in the Marshfield Mall.

People can stop in and see animals available for adoption or have their animals microchipped so they can be identified if they become lost.

"We have had 400 people bring their pets in for microchips. But the primary purpose of this space is to create awareness about what we are doing  and to have a presence in the community," said Rau.

Shelter supporters work closely with Marshfield leaders in hopes of seeing the shelter become reality.

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