By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Central Oklahoma Humane Society (OK Humane) has received a special grant from the Watershed Animal Fund, in the amount of $329,000. The grant will increase the number of homeless dogs and cats rescued in Oklahoma City and surrounding rural areas by the thousands with new programs and improvements that will save them from euthanasia.
According to the Watershed website, approximately 7.5 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year. In addition, over 2.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelter each year.
The Homeward Bound Relocation Program will allow OK Humane to transport adult dogs and puppies facing euthanasia to shelters in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Colorado that have resources to find them homes.
An estimated 70 percent of the animals for this program will come from Oklahoma City Animal Welfare shelter with approximately 30 percent being transferred from rural areas of the state where animal control resources are severely limited. A total of 1,800 dogs will be relocated per year when the program is at full capacity.
The Bottle Baby Nursery program will be launched in 2016. It will support an additional 2,000 fragile and nursing puppies and kittens per year. The nursery will provide orphaned puppies and kittens less than eight weeks of age special care around the clock until they are ready for adoption. The bottle babies in the program will come directly from Oklahoma City Animal Welfare.
The Foster Holding Space Program will add additional foster holding space allowing more time to find appropriate fosters. Without foster commitments, organizations like OK Humane find it nearly impossible to save animals from local shelters.
The Watershed Animal Fund is a private, independent entity within the Arnall Family Foundation. The fund is dedicated to supporting innovative programs with institutions and individuals to better the lives of companion animals.
The fund supports organizations with shared interests that demonstrate competency, transparency and problem solving.
“The Watershed Animal Fund is pleased to support the important work of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society as they continue their partnership with the City of Oklahoma City to save the lives of companion animals in our community,” said Christy Counts, Watershed Animal Fund President and Arnall Family Foundation Board Vice President.
The Watershed Animal Fund together with OK Humane estimate the percent of animals leaving the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare shelter alive will increase from 74 percent to approximately 80 percent.
“Pet homelessness is a community issue and we need to work together if we’re going to maximize the number of pets saved,” said Susana Della Maddalena, president and CEO of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society.
“This generous grant from the Watershed Animal Fund enables us, through our collaborative partnership with Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, to pull more dogs and cats into our programs and ultimately, save more lives.
“We share a goal of saving a minimum of 75 percent of animals entering the city shelter and this grant will actually help us meet and surpass that,” Della Maddalena added.
OK Humane is an independent, 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to enrich the communities it serves by promoting the well being of animals in Oklahoma City. The organization’s immediate goal is to eliminate the needless euthanasia of pets at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare by transferring dogs and cats from the City Shelter to its programs.
OK Humane programs include adoption, spay/neuter, trap-neuter-return and humane education. More than 100,000 dogs and cats have been served since 2007. OK Humane receives no government funding or tax dollars.
The OK Humane Adoption Center, located at 7500 N. Western Ave. Oklahoma City, OK, 73116, is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.
For those interested in fostering an animal while they wait for their forever home, visit www.okhumane.org/foster. For more information, call 405-286-1229 ext 4, or visit the OK Humane website and watershedanimalfund.com.