Take care of our community, and don’t forget the animals

We often hear about the importance of taking care of our community and helping our neighbors, but we sometimes forget pets should be included in that concept as well.

There appears to be a cat population problem in Southwest Washington. And it’s a problem we should all be involved in solving.

As detailed in an article in today’s Post-Record, the Humane Society for Southwest Washington is temporarily no longer accepting stray or surrendered cats (with the exception of those that are injured or ill). The reason? A huge spike in the number of surrendered felines during the past three months has nearly filled to capacity its cat facility at the animal shelter on 192nd Avenue.

Officials report that they were receiving 20 to 30 new cats and kittens each day, and incredibly there are 350 cats and kittens at the shelter right now — waiting to be adopted.

This number is truly shocking, and it’s sad to think that through no fault of their own some of these animals may spend their lives without a place to truly call home.

This problem, of course, isn’t limited to Southwest Washington. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, every year millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

So, how can the average person help this situation? Maybe most importantly, each and every pet owner should make sure his or her cat or dog is spayed or neutered. Even lack of financial resources isn’t a valid excuse, as both the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, Washougal’s no-kill shelter, and the Humane Society for Southwest Washington offer no cost or low cost spay and neuter programs.

All animals adopted out by these two agencies include the spay or neuter surgery in their adoption fee, which highlights another way to help: If you are able, adopt a pet. Due to overcrowding, the Humane Society for Southwest Washington is offering discounts on cat adoptions, and the WCGHS has cats and dogs available for adoption at its shelter site and at adoption centers at Petco in Orchards and PetSmart in East Vancouver.

Lastly, attend these organizations’ many fundraising events held throughout the year or simply make a donation.

With some help from the community, the pet population can be controlled, animals who are currently in shelters can find permanent, loving homes, and organizations like the Humane Society for Southwest Washington and the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society can continue their good work.