High Country Humane (HCH) is wrapping up its first full year of operation ... and what a year it has been!
As of Monday, HCH had taken in 2,831 cats and dogs, along with other types of domestic animals. Of those, 1742 were adopted into new homes and 765 pets were returned to their worried owners. Of those who entered the shelter, 562 animals had life-threatening illnesses or injuries that required immediate medical attention. All but three were nursed back to health and ultimately adopted.
Additional milestones achieved this year include:
• Opening of an on-site veterinary clinic. In April, High Country Humane became the only shelter in Northern Arizona with a full-time veterinarian and veterinary staff. This means they’re able to provide on-site emergency services, medical care, and spay/neuter surgeries for all the shelter animals. Eliminating multiple trips to local veterinarians frees the staff to remain on-site, providing critical care and easing the stress on the animals which makes for healthier outcomes.
• Live Release Rate of 95.5 %. This is the measurement used nationally by the animal welfare profession to calculate the number of animals who enter a shelter and leave that shelter alive. As an open admission shelter (defined as a shelter required to accept all animals unless the shelter is full) this high live release rate is significant because it indicates the commitment HCH has made to the community to provide a positive outcome for as many animals as possible.
• Low-Cost Vaccination Clinics. These were started in November and will continue throughout 2020. The clinics will be held on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month, and will also offer low cost microchips which come with free lifetime registration. County licenses will also be available.
Some pet owners are often unaware, until it’s too late, that there are many common but deadly diseases that are easily prevented with vaccines.
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One of the long-term goals of High Country Humane is to ensure that every pet in our community is healthy, and staying current on the essential vaccines for each animal should be at the top of every pet owner’s “to-do” list.
Equally important to the welfare of the animals is the opinion of the community, and the citizens of Flagstaff have taken note of these accomplishments and like what they see.
According to Liz Bohlke, Interim Executive Director of HCH, “the feedback from the community has been positive, enthusiastic and extremely supportive. Visitors, including owners retrieving lost pets, potential adopters, and leadership from other animal welfare organizations such as Best Friends and the Arizona Humane Society, have been impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the quality of care that the animals are receiving.”
Exciting new programs being planned for 2020 include:
• A Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program that is being developed to help reduce the number of stray cats living “on the streets” in neighborhoods and outlying areas. These cats have often been abandoned by their owners and, because no one has spayed or neutered them, are contributing to the cat overpopulation situation.
HCH needs volunteers to help Trap the cats using an approved trapping method; bring the cats to HCH where they will be spayed or Neutered, vaccinated and microchipped; and then Return them to their original location. If you’re interested in helping with this important program, please call 928-773-1330 for more information.
• Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinics. High Country Humane has received grants from the Arizona Community Foundation, the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff, and the Arizona License Plate Fund to help pay for spay or neuter surgeries for pets living in low-income families. If your family qualifies, please call the shelter at 928-526-0742 for information on how to schedule an appointment.
Finally, a reminder that High Country Humane is the appropriate shelter for lost and found animals. If you find a stray animal, it should be taken to HCH. If your pet becomes lost, please contact High Country at 928-526-0742 for information on finding your pet.
Pamela Tharp is a member of the High Country Humane Board of Directors.