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Adams County Pet Rescue requests additional support from county and city

The Othello Outlook of Othello, Washington

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After moving into its new facility, Adams County Pet Rescue (ACPR) has been diligently working to provide additional services to the county and its residents. To continue their work, Shelter Director Jessica Alvarez and ACPR President Kyya Grant, along with board members and Sheena Sorenson, of the Sagehills Veterinary Clinic, met with the Adams County Commissioners to discuss increased funding for the shelter.

In their budget discussions, the ACPR has developed a budget of $123,870 to conduct its operations next year, but only had an estimated revenue stream of $102,000 for 2016.

After calculating the cost the shelter incurs dealing with animals that are brought in from the county, they requested the commissioners consider an additional $10,000 contribution to the shelter's fund.

Adams County currently provides $5,000 annually to the operation of the shelter. The commissioners also contributed the land where the new facility is located, as well as funds to assist with the construction.

The ACPR also requested that the city of Othello increase its contributions to the shelter by another $10,000 each year as well. According to Othello Financial Officer Spencer Williams, the preliminary 2016 budget has the city contributing $15,000 to the ACPR. This is the same amount that the city contributes each year.

The additional $10,000 is currently one of the 2016 budget's red zone items and will be discussed at the Othello City Council's next meeting.

In 2015, ACPR began a series of new programs, with plans to expand these into the next year. The most notable program implemented this year was the feral cat capture and release program in partnership with the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO).

With 164 cats captured within the city of Othello and the surrounding areas, the shelter is looking to expand this program into the rest of the county.

"Our focus for the last few years had gone into building that shelter and now that that's almost done, we can look ahead to the future," Grant said. "And start providing the community with things like spay-neuter events, vaccination clinics, not just in Othello but the rest of the county."

With the number of females removed from the breeding population, Sorensen estimated they eliminated 984 kittens for the next season.

The ACPR has also implemented a new protocol of micro chipping all animals that come through the shelter and identified the first of their dogs to be picked up after the gate was left open.

This spring, the shelter plans to partner with the FCCO again to bring in a mobile clinic to the Othello area.

Something the shelter is also looking to develop is a transport system to get dogs to the shelter facility from the Ritzville, Washtucna and Lind areas.

"That's one thing we need to work out," Grant saiid.

ACPR takes in each year is steadily growing, even during the years of construction on their new facility.

In 2013, 653 animals came through the shelter compared to 785 in 2014. The count currently stands at 739 animals already served this year and if the number trends continue, Alvarez said the shelter could hit almost 900 animals by the end of the year.

"The numbers should probably be higher, but because of our transition in the winter and into spring, we weren't able to bring in or let dogs come in," Grant said. "We just didn't have a place during that transition period to really put them."

She estimated that anywhere from 50 to 80 dogs were turned away from the shelter during the transition phase.

The shelter currently has 74 animals in its care with 14 in off-site foster care. Of the 60 animals in the shelter itself, there are 25 cats and 35 dogs.

Currently, the cat population is slightly above the shelter's capacity.

"We deal with it," Alvarez said. "Good thing we have volunteers to help us out."

ACPR has partnered with the school district to provide students with the opportunity to volunteer at the shelter during school hours.

This includes higher functioning special education students from Othello High School.

One student in particular has seen a massive increase in attendance at school since she started working at the shelter.

"She loves going to school because she gets to come and help out with us," Alvarez said.

Students from McFarland Middle School also help clean in the afternoons and Alvarez reported several OHS seniors are working on their senior projects in conjunction with the shelter.

"Some of them are doing things like organizing fundraisers for us and others are just volunteering and writing a report about it," she said.

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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