The South Pacific County Humane Society (SPCHS) has faced many challenges and hurdles these past two years, but thanks to our loyal supporters and dedicated staff and volunteers, we have been able to continue our mission to care for homeless cats and dogs, albeit with some changes. We are thankful to have such a great team and support of the community.
We have had to be creative to adjust to the changes, but our supporters stepped-up and made these changes work. In normal times, the shelter has been open to the public five days a week. When we could no longer allow free access to the shelter, we developed a service window at the shelter and an on-line adoption system including adoptions by appointment, and our adopters just “went with the flow”. In spite of the struggles imposed by the pandemic, we have had positive results with adoptions, continuing support for the community and maintaining our infrastructure.
Shelter Animal Count: In 2021, our shelter took in 484 cats and dogs, finding forever homes for 323 and returning 69 to their owners with the remaining balance at the shelter waiting for their forever home or transferred to another agency. Our adoptions are down from previous years due to lower intake of strays, surrenders and animals transferred in from high intake shelters.
Details of our 2021 intake and outcome are published and available. As a no-kill shelter, SPCHS had a 98% live release rate in 2021 calculated by dividing live outcomes by total outcomes. As always, our cats and dogs receive their vaccinations including rabies and are altered before adoption and are microchipped. The shelter through Oceanside Animal Clinic altered 247 cats and dogs in our care.
Assistance Programs: In support of our mission to reduce pet overpopulation through community outreach, SPCHS funded reduced cost spay/neuters for 183 household cats and dogs. Thanks to a grant from the “We Love Our Pets” license plate program many of the household spay/neuters were provided with just a $15 co-pay. Our Community Cat Advocate assisted and educated many community members with the trap, neuter/spay, return (TNR) process for community/feral cats. With her support, 66 community/feral cats were altered, vaccinated and returned to their colony or location. To make it easier for those wanting to help with community cats, we have traps available for loan for just a $60 deposit. Also, our local Dennis Company Ace has agreed to discount a trap for those showing a voucher from SPCHS. Our Pet Food Program assisted many households struggling to provide food for their pets. We supported local food banks with cat and dog food making it easier for those who are struggling to have access to food for their pets.
Cat and Dog Enrichment: Providing the cats and dogs in our facility the best experience possible until a forever home is found for them is our number one priority.
Our Cat Advocate leads the Cat Advocate Team whose objective is to promote cat adoptions, enrich the shelter environment for cats, provide promotion and support of cat spay/neuter programs, develop systems and policies to deal with feral/unadoptable cats and develop an effective foster care program. Our Cat Cuddlers provide enrichment and socialization and details about their personalities helping us find the right home for each cat.
We are fortunate to have several great foster homes for our cats and kittens. The shelter took-in 128 kittens with many of them requiring to be bottle fed. Until the kittens are old enough to be altered, they are placed in a foster home. Our cat/kitten foster coordinator has done a great job of placing the kittens in the foster homes, tracking their health, vaccinations and spay/neuters all while fostering herself with many needing to be bottle fed.
Our Dog Advocate leads the dog walker volunteers bringing the team together for training, scheduling and sharing of information and experiences with the dogs. She ensures the dogs are walked every day with most dogs walked two to three times per day. Our Dog Advocate works with professional trainers to assist with dogs that require some extra training and focus to increase their adoptability.
In September, our lease with Pacific County was expanded to provide use of fenced county land near the county administrative buildings in Long Beach. This provides a great opportunity for our dogs to have some free running and play time in a large grass and fenced area. Our dog walkers have a great time playing fetch and letting the dogs run freely.
Shelter Annex HVAC: Thanks to a grant from the Templin Foundation and the Loren H. Corder Foundation, a much needed replacement of the heating, ventilation and air condition system for the shelter annex was completed in February.
Pandemic: As in 2020, the pandemic impacted how we managed staffing, interactions with the public, training volunteers and raising funds. We continued social distancing and masks. Employees and volunteers with responsibilities at the shelter are required to wear masks and be vaccinated. We interacted with the public through a service window. Visitors were only allowed in the shelter after they had a submitted and approved adoption application and only two visitors were allowed in the shelter at a time. Volunteer orientations continued to be an on-line application, initial phone call and discussion, and scheduled one on one training sessions.
Operating Deficits: Raising funds for the shelter continues to be a challenge. Our fundraising activities included two online auctions, garage sale and donation requests through social media. We received $10,000 through the Pacific County American Rescue Plan Act that helped us to minimize operating deficits. Our community continues to provide great support for the cats and dogs at the shelter; however, we are experiencing $4,000 to $5,000 operating deficits each month.
In June, North Coast Antique Mall donated space for the shelter to operate a “thrift” type store. Our volunteers collect donations for the “thrift” store and arrange the items. The Mall oversees the space, collects payments and sends us the proceeds. This new source of proceeds is expected to add at least $6,000 annually.
Ringworm and Respiratory Infections: Our shelter along with many other shelters experienced a high number of cat/kitten ringworm and respiratory infections. All appropriate protocols were followed to manage and minimize the spread of the infections. Ringworm takes time to heal and not only increases our care and medical costs but delays adoptions by two to three months.
2022 Priorities: Our priorities for 2022 include creating cash flows to cover program expenses, recruiting and training volunteers for leadership positions, painting the inside of the shelter building and developing a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery plan.
We are looking forward to a terrific 2022! Thank you to our community, employees and volunteers!
Patti Lee, 2022 Board President
Sandy Clancy, 2021 Board President