The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and we hope to further establish our "no-kill" ethic in 2012. Many still ask what no-kill means, while others ask if it is even possible.
No-kill is defined by YHS as the process of applying the same criteria for deciding an animal's fate that a loving pet owner or conscientious veterinarian would apply. That is, healthy and treatable animals are not killed simply because we lack the resources to care for them.
The no-kill ethic was embraced by the YHS Board of Directors and management team in July 2010. Since then we have achieved a 77 percent decrease in shelter killing and an ever-increasing live release rate.
The live release rate (LLR) refers to the number of animals who get out of a shelter alive. It includes adoptions, transfers to other rescue organizations and lost pets returned to their owners. YHS maintained a 90 percent LLR in 2011, and we've kicked off our 40th anniversary with a remarkable 97 percent LLR for dogs and a 100 percent LLR for cats!
If no-kill were an Olympic moment we would no doubt all be rejoicing for having "arrived." But sustaining no-kill is more analogous to a marathon - and we have only just begun.
YHS is the largest animal rescue organization in northern Arizona. We are becoming increasingly known for our many life-saving programs, which have made western Yavapai County the safest region for pets in all of Arizona.
So effective are our life-saving programs that today the animals most at risk of euthanasia or delayed care are those with medical issues we are challenged to diagnose because we lack X-ray equipment. Local veterinarians graciously provide X-ray services to YHS when we can afford it, but this dependency requires YHS staff or volunteers to spend precious time transporting critical care animals to and from the veterinarian. Many times an animal doesn't have the time it takes to transport it back and forth, and sometimes YHS just doesn't have the funds to pay for these life-saving X-rays - not to mention follow-up X-rays during rehabilitation.
Imagine losing your beloved pet, and learning later that s/he was hit by a car and taken to YHS. Historically, this news would have gone from bad to worse because YHS euthanized suffering animals when we were unable to determine the full extent of the injuries. If YHS had an X-ray machine, the likelihood of an injured pet's survival would increase exponentially.
To ensure every critically injured or severely ill animal that YHS rescues has a fighting chance at quality life requires X-ray equipment on-site. This vital tool will allow YHS to treat these critical needs animals efficiently and humanely - and it will save more lives.
The cost for this equipment is about $40,000. This is YHS' 40th anniversary. If 40 individuals could find it in their hearts to give $1,000, YHS could secure this equipment this year. What a birthday present for our 40th anniversary!
If you are able to help in this life-saving effort, please mail your donation to the Yavapai Humane Society at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott, AZ 86301; or call in your donation at 445-2666, ext. 21. If you prefer, check out our brand new website at www.yavapaihumane.org and click Donations/X-ray.
If you can't afford $1,000, any gift toward this essential need will be greatly appreciated! Any monies above the $40,000 will go to YHS' STAR (Special Treatment And Recovery) program which provides critical medical care to sick and injured animals.
Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.