Early last week, a woman stood in the lobby, asking us to take her cat. She was moving, in financial distress, and couldn’t care for her cat anymore. It was a story we hear almost every day. The faces and circumstances change, but the end results are usually the same: more homeless pets waiting in kennels. She was visibly shaken as she filled out the paperwork. She seemed torn by her decision. But then she smiled, pulled herself together and stood a little taller. “At least I know he will be safe here, and you guys will find him a good home. I couldn’t bear to leave him if you weren’t a no-kill shelter.”
“Actually, we are not a no-kill shelter,” was the reply. She took a step back, confused. “We are an open intake shelter. We have contracts with several government entities that require us to take in any animals that are picked up by animal control. We must do this regardless of whether or not we have space available. Which means that sometimes we need to make space…”
She seemed flustered. “But I thought that the Humane Society was no-kill.”
“There are many Humane Societies, not just one. And like us, most are separate entities. We do not receive funding or assistance from other Humane Societies. We rely on our local community of donors, volunteers and partners for support. And our community relies on us as well. Part of that reliance means that we take in police impounds, stray animals, animals being held in court cases, and animals transferred from partner organizations, as well as owner surrenders like your cat.”
“So does that mean you are going to kill my cat?”
“We certainly don’t intend to! We are lucky to be part of a community that cares for its pets. And we will do everything we can to help find your cat a good home. But in all honesty, we cannot guarantee that your cat will find a happy outcome.”
She thought it over, but decided to leave her cat. It’s a situation we encounter at the Humane Society of Central Arizona every day. We have been fortunate not to have had to make space in quite some time. But all shelters, whether “no-kill” or not, are limited by the space available when animals come in. At the Humane Society of Central Arizona, we want every animal that comes through our doors to find its way to a loving home. And thanks to the help of our adopters, volunteers and rescue partners, many of the animals we take in find their way back home or to a new home. But the reality is that being an open-intake shelter requires us to make hard decisions at times.
All pet owners should remember that the most adoptable animals are the ones that have the best chance of a new life. This means that dogs and cats should be socialized from an early age and taught the basics of how to live in a home with people and (when possible) other animals. A healthy, well-adjusted pet is the easiest pet to place. And if you are considering surrendering your pet, please make sure that you have tried every possible way to find a new home before bringing it to the shelter. We will do our best for the animals in our care. But we need your help to ensure that as many as possible go home.
Happy Holidays from all of us, two-legged and four-, at the Humane Society of Central Arizona.
Here are just a few of the wonderful pets awaiting adoption at our shelter, located at 605 W. Wilson Court (just south of Main Street). Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (excluding holidays). All adoptable pets are spayed or neutered and are current on vaccinations. For more information, call (928) 474-5590 or visit our Web site: www.humanesociety centralaz.org.
Sirus is an 11-year-old husky/shepherd mix. He is a distinguished older gentleman with an air of confidence and authority. He enjoys spending time in the yard with some of his calmer dog friends. Sirus is tolerant of cats and easygoing with children.
Mataya is a beautiful 9-year-old domestic shorthair. She spends her time sunning in our cat room, and enjoys gentle petting but prefers not to be picked up. She would do well in a quieter home and is social with other cats.
Henry is an 8-year-old domestic shorthaired tabby. He is friendly with everyone and gets along well in his cat community. He is generally easygoing, and enjoys petting and lazy sunning.
Woody is a gentle, old soul. He is an 11-year-old neutered boxer mix that came to us as a stray. He loves to sit quietly with people and have his head rubbed. He’s a little slow, but still enjoys yard time in the sun with his dog friends. Woody is calm and friendly with children and other dogs. He would make a great friend to sit with by the fireplace.