Society closes shelter, focuses on education |

Society closes shelter, focuses on education

The shelter staff at the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. want to thank all those who have been supportive and understanding about the hard decision made to close our shelter. We also want to assure all concerned that the local humane society, as an organization, is still here to service its community.

When there are resources available to maintain them, animal rescue shelters are like band aids — a temporary fix to a problem, not a permanent solution. With the proceeds from the sale of the shelter property, the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. can focus on solutions to pet overpopulation, cruelty and abuse. Our energies will be directed into spay/neuter programs, humane education, emergency aid, rescue referral, behavior counseling, training and more.

When our shelter has been full of South Lake Tahoe cats and dogs it has been almost solely due to unwanted litters from unsterilized pets. The basic proactive message is the spay-neuter message. All pet guardians need to be prepared to take responsibility, financially and emotionally, for the welfare of their pets. This starts with spay or neuter for positive health, behavior and social benefits, which extend to saving lives of adoptable pets who need not be killed for lack of homes stolen by unwanted litters.

Many who have called have asked what they can do to help as we prepare to close the private shelter doors. Here is a list of ways you can support humane values, pets in need, and the ongoing programs of your local Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

1. Spay/neuter your pets. Call us about local low cost programs.

2. Keep cats indoors and dogs confined to your property. If strays take up all the kennels and cages at El Dorado Animal Control, then the true rescue animals must be killed for no good reason other than lack of space.

3. Keep your license and personal pet ID updated; budget for annual cat and dog vaccines to keep both your pet and Tahoe community healthy; and budget for emergency care.

4. Adopt an animal from your local animal control agency — 25 percent are purebreds.

5. Stay away from backyard breeders and pet store puppies and kittens. If you must use a breeder, find a respectable and licensed one. Research the breed you want. All purebreds have both positive and negative characteristics. Many have a well documented history of costly medical needs.

6. Avoid taking “free” puppies and kittens in public areas. There is not such thing as a free lunch or a free animal. Most of these unwanted litters and their moms have not been properly cared for, and are likely to be unhealthy. Consider also that 75 percent of animals impulsively acquired are later turned in to animal shelters, or experience fates much worse.

7. Think before you choose a pet. Is it the right time in your life to make an 18-year commitment? For more information search for “The Right Time to Adopt” or call us to send you a free copy.

8. Train pets early. It’s part of your commitment and part of the fun of having a companion animal. The No. 1 reason dogs are brought to a shelter is for bad behavior which usually can be corrected. The No. 1 reason cats are abandoned is for not using a litter box or for alleged allergies. We can help you get through the easy solutions and myths related to these issues.

9. Moving is the No. 2 reason companion animals are brought to shelters. Are you going to be renting and subject to landlord approval? Pet friendly housing at Tahoe is hard to find. Again, be clear that you are ready to take on the emotional and financial responsibility. A pet is a lifetime commitment to a living, loyal but dependent companion.

10. Continue to put the financial and spiritual support you can truly afford into local values and community building programs like those of your 100-percent donation dependent Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. Both animal welfare and humane education programs are crucial to effect a decline of animals in need of sheltering, and a better quality of life for all of us.

For free referrals, information and assistance in animal related areas call (530) 577-4521.

— Carolyn Bigley is animal care and services manager for the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

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