Animal Protection Society tours animal welfare organizations in Eastern Washington

Posted September 17, 2022 at 7:53 pm by

Contributed photo

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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