Animal Protection Society tours animal welfare organizations in Eastern Washington
Posted September 17, 2022 at 7:53 pm by San Juan Update
The Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor shares news about their recent experiences in Eastern Washington, including the ways in which APS-FH can work to support animal welfare in the region.
On Sept. 6, Animal Protection Society-Friday Harbor Executive Director Cristin Felso and Shelter Manager Beth Anderson were invited to join a team of animal welfare champions on a private airplane trip across the north-central region of Washington state, including the cities of Omak, Okanogan, Cashmere, and Wenatchee. The goal of the trip was to visit with local animal welfare leaders and tour facilities, as well as pick up two litters of puppies to be transferred to APS-FH and Orcas APS. The trip was organized by San Juan Island resident Cindy Koch in a continued effort to address gaps in animal welfare services and identify potential solutions to decrease overpopulation and the number of unwanted pets in the region.
Members of the touring team included Cindy Koch, Jill Servais, island resident Mia Shepard, APS founding board member Yolanda Morris, and Pawsitive Alliance Executive Director Jenny Fraley.
There are many factors at play in the region that create a challenging animal welfare environment, including large, rural land areas that are geographically isolated and a high rate of poverty that presents barriers to accessibility and affordability of pet-care services. There are also few available resources to address the prevalence of animal overpopulation, such as consistent and low-cost spay and neuter services, accessible animal shelters, and availability of other shelter and rescue partners to accept animals from the region through transport and transfer.
During the tour, the group visited several organizations struggling to do all they can do for an overwhelming number of homeless and abandoned animals in a severely under-served and under-resourced region. Okanogan Regional Humane, The Cat House, Okanogan County Animal Foster Care Cat Shelter, City of Omak, and Okandogs are all organizations doing their best to cover the needs of the animals within their community, but are either struggling or unable to keep up with the demand. The commonality between all of them was a lack of funding, housing space, and access to resources for the homeless or stray animals in need.
Through this visit, it is clear that the entire region needs access to sustained, low-cost spay and neuter and veterinary services via clinic and mobile units, and efforts should be made to increase public awareness regarding the importance of spaying and neutering owned animals. Finally, transport and relocation programs with shelters throughout the state are critical to shelters in this area.
APS-FH is in the early learning stage of identifying ways we can support this region. We are working with shelters and rescues in the area to set transfer parameters that will allow us to accept animals more readily from the region. And our own shelter veterinarian, Dr. Merriss Waters, will lead a team of vets and other animal medical personnel during a high volume spay and neuter, vaccination, and ID event taking place at Okanogan Regional Humane in Omak Oct. 21–23. At least 200 animals will receive services through this collaboration put together by Okanogan Regional Humane, Animal Balance, and Pawsitive Alliance of Bellevue.
In addition to the insight APS-FH reps received on this journey, they were also able to tie in a transfer of eight small, mixed-breed puppies from ARFS of Grant County and Okandogs. All pups will soon be available for adoption through APS-FH and Orcas APS. By adopting a rescue pet, you can make all the difference in the life of an unwanted animal, while helping support the many organizations working together to resolve animal welfare related issues.
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