Thursday, April 26, 2012

Public invited to learn more about YHS at annual meeting

The YHS Walk for the Animals
event drew about 500 attendees Saturday.
The Yavapai Humane Society's (YHS) first Walk for the Animals was a huge success. More than 500 people attended and over 360 of them brought their canine companions. More than $25,000 was raised to help fund life-saving programs, far surpassing our $20,000 goal. I want to thank everyone who participated in this wonderful event designed to help save the lives of our community's homeless pets.

The Walk for the Animals kicked off the Yavapai Humane Society's 40th anniversary. Anniversaries are times to reflect on the past and plan for the future. That is exactly what we intend to do at our 2012 annual meeting. The YHS annual meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 5, in Prescott. Everyone is invited. Come learn more about your Yavapai Humane Society.

YHS history

When it comes to looking back, the Daily Courier archives is a treasure trove. The need for a humane society was first documented in 1935 when it was reported our community was "facing unfavorable publicity of the worst kind."

A national officer from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was visiting the Smoki public museum. Somebody drove by and in her presence tossed a litter of neonate kittens on the road. The callous incident so incensed the officer that she threaten to "blast Prescott as the most inhumane city she ever visited" in their national publication. There is no record she ever followed through on that threat.

Nonetheless, that episode may have served as a catalyst for "gathering momentum to form some sort of humane society" according to the Courier, which demanded an organization be formed to "to put a stop to numerous acts of cruelty to animals in Prescott."

Despite the gathering momentum, it wasn't until March 20, 1972, that the Yavapai Humane Society submitted its articles of incorporation; and not until Aug. 1, 1977, that the shelter doors finally opened. The grand opening, officiated by Mayor Larry Caldwell, was on Sept. 2, 1977.

From the "most inhumane city" in the United States to possibly the most progressive and innovative community in the state of Arizona, if not the entire Southwest, it has been quite a journey.

YHS completed 2011 with a 90 percent live release rate and maintained a 96 percent live release rate for the first three months of 2012. With the help of our board, employees, volunteers, sponsors and partners, YHS has virtually eliminated euthanasia as a means of pet overpopulation control in our community. In fact, according to national shelter statistics, western Yavapai County is now considered the safest community for pets in all Arizona, and possibly in the entire Mountain Region, which includes Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah.

From a community where "scores of persons took unwanted kittens and pups out on the highway to toss them out to die of injuries or to starve to death" (according to a 1935 Courier article) to a society where every animal is valued, and where the same criteria that a loving pet guardian or conscientious veterinarian applies to an owned pet is applied to homeless pets, is a remarkable transformation. A transformation we should all be proud of! Thank you all for making this happen.

Attend our annual meeting to learn how YHS is better positioned today to effectively promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of lost and homeless pets than ever before; and how you can help. The YHS annual meeting is 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, at the Yavapai Title Company, 1235 East Gurley St., Prescott.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.