Multiple cat colony rescues spur CVAS fundraising drive, assessment of capacity vs. community needs
If you have been following CVAS on Facebook and noticing the large number of posts about kittens, cats, cat food, kitten food, cat toys, cat summer vacations...well, you get the idea. Especially if you're a dog lover, you may be wondering: What happened to the dogs?
We still have dogs (see three featured dogs ready for adoption here), but they have been out of the spotlight of late. Due to SEVEN large cat rescues in the past 12 months, involving over 300 neglected and malnourished cats, the Sanctuary is crowded with felines.
Staff, volunteers, and facilities have been pushed to the limit as we work to provide badly needed medical care and socialization for so many cats. While it may be natural to wonder, "Why did they take in so many cats?" the answer would become clear with a single look at any of the rescue sites. Picture, for example, a crumbling mobile home with 40 cats living underneath it, kittens lying in heaps of fiberglass insulation, all the cats starving, dehydrated, and suffering with eye infections, ear mites and fleas. Once someone has seen that, they are ready to help shift things around at the shelter and do what it takes to get those animals to safety.
The huge number of animals rescued from terrible situations during this past year has depleted our cash reserves and prompted a close examination of CVAS capacity compared with total community need. The number of calls coming into the Sanctuary from people looking for help with animals keeps going up—we often get 15 or more such calls PER DAY. To improve the situation, there are four basic things we would like to focus on.
(1) Increase CVAS shelter capacity through upgrading facilities and increasing staff. Our core group of volunteers is absolutely wonderful and has kept us going for almost 15 years. But with the great need for services, the volunteers cannot cover all the work, and there are too many gaps.
(2) Develop a large network of community members able to coordinate among each other and with CVAS and other animal welfare groups to house and care for animals in need. A shelter has only so much space. If you are interested in fostering animals in need, please complete the foster application form here.
(3) Boost our volunteer base. A volunteer sign-up form is available here.
(4) Develop an educational program for classrooms and community groups, focusing on the humane treatment of animals and the significant community benefits of achieving a high spay/neuter rate for cats and dogs. Only through increasing the percentage of spayed and neutered pets will the number of unwanted cats and dogs decrease.
To begin this process, CVAS has:
(1) Hired an animal shelter fundraising consultant who visited in June to help jump start the capacity building effort.
(2) Prepared a community survey to be distributed in September: We are seeking input from the community to help us plan future directions and ensure an appropriate level of shelter services. The survey will go out to our e-mail list, will be posted at the CVAS web site, and will be available through the mail by request.
(3) Started a monthly e-newsletter and regular mailing list to reach more people and make it easier to share timely information with our supporters (if interested, please sign up here). We are also updating our web site and social media platforms.
(4) Embarked on a fundraising campaign, kicking off with the Dog Days of Summer in Kettle Falls on Saturday, August 27.
These steps are the beginning of what will need to be a sustained effort at community networking, harnessing talent and energy to make a bigger difference for the disturbingly large population of homeless and suffering animals in Northeast Washington. We would love to have your support and involvement. If you have time and energy to share, please e-mail Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.