There’s no competition when it comes to saving animals’ lives. Groups across the metro work together to help find homes for dogs and cats, said Central Oklahoma Humane Society marketing and communications director Melinda Prible.
“Organizations like the Central Oklahoma Humane Society, Bella Foundation and others pull pets from the city shelter to find forever families and free up room to save more lives,” she said. “This is a true community approach to save lives together. It’s what you would expect from Oklahomans.”
Last year, more than 21,000 dogs and cats entered Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, said Prible. That’s actually down from more than 23,000 in 2015.
Dealing with such a massive problem can’t be done on a single front, which is why Oklahoma City’s animal welfare community approach is so necessary.
Bella (“beautiful” in Italian) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping pet owners in unfortunate circumstances continue to care for their pets. The foundation picks up the tab for low-income, elderly and terminally ill residents who can’t afford veterinary care for their pets.
When owners bring an animal into a vet’s office for help but can’t afford the price tag, the veterinarian can contact The Bella Foundation for assistance. The foundation only asks the owner to volunteer eight hours at OKC’s animal shelter or their local shelter.
Now in it’s 10th year, The Bella Foundation uses a fostering system to help with socialization and basic training before it adopts out a pet. All dogs and cats are spayed or neutered, microchipped for help reuniting pets with owners and given vaccines. Visit thebellafoundation.org.
Safe Haven Animal Rescue
The word rescue is in its name for a reason. Safe Haven is a nonprofit organization focused on helping homeless and abandoned animals. Most animals at Safe Haven come from kill shelters, but some are are rescued from puppy mills or surrendered by owners who can’t take care of pets.
Unlike some other groups, Safe Haven doesn’t have its own shelter. All pets up for adoption are in foster homes — sometimes for days and up to several months. The group handles all veterinary care and loans out supplies. Visit safehavenanimalrescue.org.
The main goal of nonprofit Central Oklahoma Humane Society is to stop needless animal euthanasia in Oklahoma City. Since it began in 2007, the group (unaffiliated with the national Humane Society) helped find homes for more than 20,000 dogs and cats and spayed or neutered 88,000 pets.
One way Central Oklahoma Humane Society helps is by taking pets outside central Oklahoma. In 2016, the group helped find more than 1,500 dogs homes in other states with its relocation program.
“Most people don’t know we do that, but I drove 42 dogs to Minneapolis last week,” Prible said.
Some states don’t have the same challenges with stray and homeless pets, making them ideal staging grounds for pet adoptions. Visit okhumane.org.
OKC Animal Welfare
The city has an extensive list of resources for pet owners, helping adopt out pets, but also giving assistance after the fact.
For Oklahoma City residents, the pet food bank can provide food for animals when owners cannot. Oklahoma City Animal Welfare offers free spaying and neutering for pets living in Oklahoma City. The city will also provide free doghouses to Oklahoma City residents who can’t get one otherwise. Call 405-316-3663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Visit okc.gov/departments/animal-welfare.
Print headline: Helping paws, Metro organizations work together to address problems with the local pet population.