Spotlight - Canyon County Pet Haven

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Our guest spotlight today, written by contributor Cindy F., is about Canyon County Pet Haven in Idaho.

Local shelters are often overwhelmed with donations of animals and not donations of time or funding. In a perfect world, everyone would love to have no kill shelters. The way to make that happen is to prevent pet overpopulation in the beginning, and that is the part of the solution this shelter is trying to provide. Their focus was on 'try', and trying to make a difference is the first step in actually doing so. 
Canyon County Pet Haven

Just write about your shelter/ Why it is important to support them. That’s what Jay asked me to do and so I shall try.

Try.  That’s really what we do every day at our small (four employees) cat shelter/humane society in southwestern Idaho.  We try to take in as many cats as we can even though the calls come in daily from people with strays, litters, cats and kittens dumped or found on the streets or in the country.  Our capacity is 70 but we are over 100 most of the year.  We are fortunate to have two larger shelters within a 25 mile drive of ours, but still, there are too many cats.

Then the challenge is to try and keep them healthy.  They get sick easily and antibiotics don’t work on the kitty viruses that sometimes infect our cats to the point where some do not survive.  The medicines that do work are very expensive as are the vaccinations.   Our vet does some pro bono work for us but we do have to pay her for a lot of her expertise.

We try to get them adopted which may be the hardest thing of all.  With only one volunteer to help with mobile adoptions at Petco, most  adoptions happen at the shelter.  Our website is constantly evolving plus now we have petfinder, facebook and twitter to help.  Public relations is hard!

We rent out our ancient surgery rooms to the vet who is able to provide low cost cat spay/neuter to the public.  She can do between 30 and 50 cats in one morning and has been doing that weekly for the last 7 years!  We are very proud of this considering the county facility with its state of the art surgery has never offered this service for the public, only for their shelter animals.  Try as we might, all these surgeries don’t seem to make a dent in the cat population.  We would like to try and build a fund for free spays and neuters in the near future.

We are not a “no-kill” shelter.  We have an open door policy.  This makes it hard for us because many people would rather donate to a facility that does not take lives.  We understand this philosophy.  However, we try to be of service to the public as well as the cats.  When humans abandon their animals they become the responsibility of other humans.  Most of the time they do not want this responsibility yet they want to help the animal. That’s where we come in.  In order to help the people as well as protect the animals from abuse/suffering, we will take in any cat.  We try to keep them all,  not all will get adopted.  But we try.

Shelters like ours really appreciate consistent volunteers. People that will show up week after week and offer tech skills, handyman skills, cleaning skills, etc.  Grooming, socializing and exercising  the cats is a priority.  Donations of supplies are deeply appreciated, every shelter has a “wish list”!

When deciding to donate money to a local animal shelter keep these questions in mind: Do they provide low cost spays and neuters to the public?  Depending on your personal feelings: Are they “no-kill” or do they have an open door policy?  Do they have a good reputation in the community?  Do they try?

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