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P.U.P.S. offers Awareness in Animal Welfare

In the year-end edition of PUPS Digest, the message and mission of Pets Uniting People Society  (P.U.P.S.) is awareness to the problem of overpopulation of animals in our community, especially cats.

educationPUPS

Display of P.U.P.S. Educational Hand-Outs

As Director of P.U.P.S., I received a phone call back in May from a lady who fishes at a local lake stating that there were many cats dropped at this lake. She said they were starving. When I went to the lake to see first-hand, there were cats (approximately six), but they were not starving. There was indeed evidence of people feeding the cats from all the empty cat food cans. Although, they were still in danger because of some people being abusive towards animals, the elements of nature, and animal predators. Also, I was concerned about the cats multiplying. I spoke with the ranger of this location and well as the manager of the district wildlife reserve office and they informed me that reserves have been made a cat drop zone for years! Years!? It’s not only at secluded places, but public parks in town, ie especially Snyder Park and Cliff Park. Not only are cats abandoned at these type areas, but also in public, high-traffic areas. Recently, we had a phone call from an out-of-state couple traveling through Springfield. They stopped at the McDonald’s on South Limestone for a bite to eat and found a cat in the middle of the parking lot trying to eat a dropped McNugget. She was dirty, skinny, and scared. The couple went to many places, ie veterinarian offices and our local humane society and no one would help. They found us by a referral from either the humane society or a local veterinarian’s office. As director, I took the call and was ready to say “we are not animal control”, but the more the gentleman talked and described the situation…I knew we had to help. They were the most compassionate couple and when they arrived home to their own three kitties, they sent P.U.P.S. a nice donation to help this kitty in distress. We named her Mickey-D and just a week or so ago, she was adopted to a family from Springfield.

Cats are discovered living around many area restaurants as they are trying to fend for themselves. We have taken cats away from many fast-food restaurants and fortunately have been able to place the ones rescued or in some cases, unfortunately, some had to be euthanized because of ill-health. However, most are feral, cannot be tamed, and need to be neutered/spayed, vaccinated, and returned to the environment where they came from even though it may be a dangerous one. In addition, P.U.P.S. is not designed or equipped to be animal control or rescue. We can help, but that is not why we were established. We were organized for “education, awareness, and responsibility in animal welfare” as no other nonprofit, 501c3 organization was providing this information to the public. We need better coverage of the problem and something to be done about it. We can help, but we cannot do it alone. It requires assistance from a much larger group to get the overpopulation controllable, humanely, and not euthanizing them.

Cat Multiplying Image 2

Picture chart of how an unspayed cat multiplies

Let’s move forward and solve problems, not create them. Even though we have two, large pet protection organizations in our community and are doing what they can, it is not enough. That’s why you are seeing smaller groups like P.U.P.S. sprouting up. The problem is huge! In reality, there will always be problems, but let’s work together to make them less severe. We cannot just close our eyes and pretend an animal overpopulation does not exist.

First, here’s the awareness to the public about the problem. Second, if anyone sees any dropping activity, call the authorities, report it. Third, don’t think cats can fend for themselves because they cannot, especially if they are domesticated and lived in a neighborhood or home. Innocent animals should not have to fend for themselves because of violators who either don’t care or think these animals will be cared for by someone else. How sad and ignorant is this?

Our organization P.U.P.S. and others like us are trying to educate the public about what is happening in our community. We do not want citizens to be uninformed. We have a problem and it’s going to take our entire community to do something about it. It also is not going to go away. The answer is neuter/spay and education.

The following is an open letter to our community about how it takes an entire community to change things.

The Mission of Pets Uniting People Society

Even though P.U.P.S. is united with other pet protection organizations because of the plight of animals, our network still has to tackle an age-old question. How do we make this world (community) a better place in regards to animals? Our community has two long-term, well-established animal organizations plus many small ones such as P.U.P.S., but we still have a huge, homeless animal population, especially cats. The reality is that there will always be problems; however, perhaps, we can decrease their severity and try to make things better.

Trap-Neuter-Return PetSmart Ad

Neuter/Spay is the Answer

What’s that cliché? It takes a village to raise a child. Ironically, the welfare of a child and an animal go hand in hand. In collaboration with a child’s parents, it takes an entire community to teach children to be responsible, productive citizens. A parent should teach a child when he/she is a toddler about how to handle and care for a puppy, kitten, hamster, etc. If one sees a child attempting to pick up a pet by its tail or neck, gently correct the child and give a positive reinforcement. If only it was that easy! My husband Pat says I come across like I’m the pet police. Maybe so, but I believe strongly in a pet being a part of the family, treated with respect and dignity. Pat said: “Carolyn, not everyone sees an animal like you do.” I thought…well, why not?

On Guide Star, a national exchange of nonprofits, our leadership statement reads:  In order to get to the root of the overpopulation of pets, our society needs to stop just putting band-aids on the wound. Humane education in animal welfare is needed in our communities. Just as a DUI person is required to take a course in “Driver’s Training” the same should be true for a first-offense animal abuser in taking a course in “Animal Care and Welfare”.

If there isn’t educational curriculum for humane education in the schools, there should be! Our P.U.P.S.’ board members believe that an educational curriculum needs to be designed beginning with the elementary grades, kindergarten or first grade. Humane education is much more than just about animals. It’s about our environment! It’s about people! It’s about caring! It’s funny. I never thought an educational curriculum was desperately needed about compassion in our schools, but it is!

feral cats respect

“Love Cats” group ask this graphic to be shared and it’s so true.

What does P.U.P.S. do for awareness? We report findings here on our website/blog and report news in our hard copy publication as well. We have a PUPS Club at SpringfieldHigh School, participate at NorthwesternHigh School’s craft/trade show every year handing out educational materials, participate at Nonprofit Community Day at the Upper Valley Mall, and many other community outreaches. We host our own annual event “Autumn Leaves” which is a brunch/auction to raise funds and awareness to our mission: education, awareness, and responsibility in animal welfare. Plus as P.U.P.S.’ Director, I am invited to speak at many civic groups to get the word out on our mission.

Remember, we are not a rescue shelter. We assist and give resources to help people place an animal(s), but we are not animal control. What we do provide, as long as we have funds, is a community low-cost or no-cost free-roaming cat neuter/spay program for those who qualify. We use the same income guidelines as The Ohio Pet Fund. (Guideline chart on The Ohio Pet Fund website)

If you have questions or need more information about P.U.P.S., email me at info@pupsunite.org or call me, Carolyn, at (937) 244-4604.

 

 

 

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