Caring for neglected animals | SierraSun.com

Caring for neglected animals

Carol Merjol, Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe

The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe sincerely appreciates the Sierra Sun’s addition of a dedicated Community News page. Community organizations build a caring community, and we all need to get the word out about what we do, how we do our work, and what we need to accomplish our mission.

What we do: HSTT is a non-profit animal welfare group dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals, the relief of suffering among animals, and the extension of humane education to improve the quality of animal life. We are staffed completely by volunteers working out of their homes.

HSTT is in partnership with the Town of Truckee Animal Control, which brings dogs and cats into a temporary metal shed holding facility. Since the Town of Truckee does not budget for adoptions or medical care, this is where the Humane Society comes in.

HSTT either boards cats at a local vet clinic or finds good foster homes for them. We pay all medical costs to ensure good health, spay or neuter, evaluate and socialize, and then set about adopting to good homes.

HSTT pays to board dogs or finds foster homes; but the reality is not enough space is available, so many stay at the temporary shed awaiting adoption. Medical attention and spay/neuter is paid for by the Humane Society, and dogs are evaluated, trained and walked.

Our community spay/neuter programs helps to prevent future homeless animals and is extremely popular among local residents.

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How we do our work: We maintain a phone bank staffed by volunteers working out of their homes. These volunteers respond directly to inquiries or forward on messages to other appropriate volunteers in their areas of responsibility. Volunteers work individually with animals to assess the needs of each animal, and during a limited window of opportunity.

The difficulty of accomplishing direct animal care cannot be appreciated unless you are an animal being cared for; or a volunteer providing services. Both the Animal Control shed and the facility where our animals are boarded were never intended to serve as long-term boarding facilities.

It is hard to maintain the physical and mental health of animals contained in dark, cramped quarters. It is hard to find volunteers who can work on the limited time schedule allotted, for Animal Control is not open to the public.

It is just as hard to get local residents to adopt locally because of the limited access to the animals and lack of conveniently located facilities open to the public; however, when a problem occurs, the local resident learns that the other facility will not take back the animal and so the out-of-town animal is turned in to Truckee, where no adequate shelter exists.

What we need: Volunteers to walk dogs, socialize cats, foster animals, work in fund-raising, or perform administrative duties; members to provide tax-deductible financial support, and an animal shelter.

Truckee needs a modest, conveniently located animal shelter open to the public. Although town staff and the Humane Society have talked about the operation of a joint facility, financing is uncertain.

HSTT spends nearly 100 percent of funds raised on animal care, and by all measures of success for an animal welfare organization, the HSTT is at the top. We are “no kill” and accept all adaptable dogs and cats that Animal Control has in its possession, as well as take in a large number of local animals directly from the former caregivers.

We respect and appreciate the positive working relationship, we enjoy with the wonderful staff at Animal Control. But with hundreds of animals taken in annually, and numbers rapidly increasing, HSTT cannot continue without a modest animal shelter open to the public. For the animals, we need people and businesses in this community and surrounding areas served to step up to the plate with generous donations of land and money to make an animal shelter a reality.

The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe provides a truly lifesaving service to this community. The animals urgently need your help.

Carol Merjil serves on the board of directors and is chair of the cat program for the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.