The Okanagan Humane Society (OHS) was founded on a mission and mandate that spay and neuter saves lives and ends suffering.
This local organization helped more than 1,500 animals in 2022 breaking the record of the most animals they have served in a one-year period. And, to date OHS has spayed or neutered more than 25,000 local animals and counting.
“Most of our mission work and funding goes directly to spaying and neutering animals in our community”, states Romany Runnalls, Volunteer Board President. “We rescue animals and support low cost spay neuter programs through partner veterinarians for families experiencing income hardship and having difficulty affording spay and neuter services for pets; along with also ensuring our community animals are fixed to be a part of the solution to pet overpopulation,”
OHS has been working in our communities for 27 years, capturing, sterilizing and rehoming homeless, stray, and feral community cats and kittens. This is a large part of the work they do throughout the Okanagan Valley.
“There are many cat colonies in city centers and on farmland in the valley. We have had some great success getting a handle on the city cat populations in the bigger urban areas where we have more veterinary partners and volunteers but are still working very hard at getting the populations down in rural areas and small towns,” mentions Runnalls.
Runnalls states, “life for many of these animals is terrible. These helpless cats and kittens have had to learn to live on their own and find enough resources from people feeding them outside, and survive the harsh seasons. Their lives are fraught with danger and risk almost always ending in an untimely and tragic death from car strikes, disease, frigid temperatures, or predation.”
Another large part of their work is to assist those pet owners with income barriers to accessing low cost spay and neuter services. With a host of veterinary partners throughout the Okanagan they are able to support animals like Mellow.
Mellow was rescued from a breeding situation this winter at two years old. She was underweight, full or worms and had ingrown dew claws. Soon after rescue by her new owners she stopped eating, was sick and very lethargic. She was rushed to Shuswap Vet Clinic on February 14 to find out she needed emergency surgery that day to remove her entire uterus which was enormously swollen with infection and in order to save her life! A condition called pyometra.
This is an extremely painful and common condition that can happen in unfixed female animals due to bacteria entering the uterus during their ‘heat’ cycles. The surgical procedure can be four to five times as expensive as a normal spay. The uterus becomes grossly enlarged with infection and can rupture. If not immediately removed this can cause certain death from infection flooding the abdomen and blood.
Mellow is not the first animal that OHS has saved from this life threatening condition that could be avoided by simply spaying female animals in their first year of life.
Just as important is neutering male animals, which not only keeps the breeding population in check, but helps prevent painful urinary tract infections and the potential for them to develop into a lethal urinary tract blockage, prevalent in unfixed male cats. Neutering can prevent this very common and potentially deadly condition if it is not caught and treated within hours of a cat becoming ‘blocked’. Life-saving treatment for this common condition is often 10 times the costs of a routine neuter!
On World Spay and Neuter Day, OHS is urging people to book their pets in to be spayed or neutered and to spread the word about the benefits of fixing your animals, and dangers of not doing so.
OHS is also seeking donations to continue this life saving work.
“We do not receive government funding with the exception of a BC Community Gaming Grant, and are reliant on support for the community, states Marni Adams, Fund Development Advisor, Okanagan Humane Society. The generosity of our community and supporters have allowed us to answer the needs even with the huge increase of we have seen,” says Adams.
To support OHS, you can donate today at www.okanaganhumanesociety.com/donate
To find out more about the life saving work of The Okanagan Humane Society, to donate or to find your next forever, furry friend, visit their website at www.okanaganhumanesociety.com or follow them on Facebook.