Humane Society offers wide range of services

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Having a pet is a very fulfilling experience but it can also be very expensive. That’s why the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe offers a wide range of services to help keep pets in their loving homes whenever possible. But the nonprofit organization also works to help all animals, even those without a home. For example, did you know the HSTT provides trap-neuter-return services to unowned cats living outdoors in many parts of our region? Did you know the HSTT offers free vaccines and free pet food?

“Many people don’t know that we provide these resources,” says Kara Carstensen, HSTT outreach programs manager. “Much of our outreach is targeted, but it’s important to highlight support services to our entire community in an effort to increase awareness and expand participation through word-of-mouth and community buy-in.”

Here’s a full breakdown of the programs sponsored by the HSTT, and supported by donors and volunteers. If the public is also feeling a need that is not covered by these services, the HSTT welcomes suggestions and ideas for better ways to assist the pet population in the region.

Community spay/neuter

The Humane Society offers low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and vouchers for dogs and cats, to income-qualifying community members in our coverage area. Through the spay/neuter clinic at the shelter and partnerships with Veterinarians in our region, HSTT is able to help stop unwanted litters from adding to the homeless pet population.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, HSTT has provided 468 low-cost or free surgeries to pets belonging to community members in the area.

Community vaccine and microchip clinics

HSTT hosts quarterly free vaccine and microchip clinics for dogs and cats in our coverage area. The primary goals are to reach and support community pet populations facing barriers to veterinary care. Additionally, clinics help raise awareness for the services offered through the Truckee Animal Shelter and South Lake Tahoe office, in particular our community spay/neuter services and adoption program, designed to save lives and help reduce pet homelessness.

Community members are also encouraged to license their dogs with a rabies license once vaccinated. Since inception, HSTT’s free clinics have assisted just under 600 owned pets in the region with over 1500 vaccines and microchips. The clinics were unsafe to operate during the height of the pandemic, but have since resumed with COVID-19 health and safety precautions in place. HSTT recently offered its fourth free clinic in 2021 on Oct. 28 for our South Lake Tahoe community pets.

A dog is treated at at free vaccine/microchip clinic.

Community pet pantry services

HSTT believes it is in an animal’s best interest to stay in their loving, responsible home rather than enter the shelter system, whenever possible. To help guardians keep their companion animals where they belong, at home with them, we offer pet food and supplies to maintain their care. HSTT partners with local social service groups to provide distribution locations for community members receiving food assistance. Food delivery services to homebound community members in the North Lake Tahoe area is also an option and can be found through an easy sign-up process on HSTT’s website.

For members of the community who are not enrolled in social service food assistance programs, we welcome you to stop by one of our pickup locations. The Pet Pantry Program has been operating since the recession in 2010 in an effort to keep pets with their owners despite financial hardships. Since expanding the Pet Pantry Service at the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020, we’ve distributed over 17,966 pounds of pet food and over 2,000 pounds of cat litter.

HSTT accepts unopened, unexpired, non-prescription pet food donations. The Community Pet Pantry donation wish lists are available on Chewy and Amazon. Or, donate through Nature’s Select of Northern California.

Community pet care assistance

HSTT is here to help guardians keep their companion animals through difficult times, by offering financial and support service assistance to residents of our coverage area with the cost of necessary, yet financially unattainable veterinary care.

The goal is to fill the gap in funding to low-income, elderly and disabled pet caretakers that is keeping an animal from receiving necessary/urgent care.

Since the beginning of 2020, HSTT has assisted 32 clients with over $4,600 in medical bills.

Neighborhood cat assistance:Trap-Neuter-Return’

Trap-Neuter-Return services drastically improve the lives of cats living outdoors in our region’s neighborhoods and support their compassionate caretakers. If you see a cat outdoors, it doesn’t always mean the same thing. Please call HSTT for assistance with creating the best plan of action when you find a cat or a kitten outdoors.

Since TNR services have been made available, HSTT has provided over 200 cats and kittens with spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines and supplies to live out their lives outdoors – monitored by their caretakers, and without the risk of continuous breeding and suffering.

For more information, visit or call 530-587-5948.

Source: HSTT

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