To the Editor:
Many people are understandably drawn to a photo of a cute kitten, handsome dog or lop-eared rabbit. We find all versions of these at the Central Missouri Humane Society’s shelter on Big Bear Boulevard, but these wonderful faces are peering out of kennels and cages. They have been abandoned or abused, become inconvenient or annoying or, in this economy, are simply too expensive for someone fallen on hard times to afford. But thanks to a caring community of adopters, volunteers, donors, foster homes, friends and the society's staff, these animals live in a much-improved environment while they wait for a forever home.
Because local citizens of all ages stepped forward, the shelter has benefited from a Zootoo-funded “makeover” that includes new cat and dog facilities, glass and stainless steel runs and a new (fresh) air handling system. Volunteers have redecorated our lobby to welcome visitors, and the Heinkel Foundation’s $10,000 gift has provided Kuranda beds for the dogs. A series of four projects with MU’s Resource Center for Human-Animal Interaction that focused on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder working with shelter dogs led to a Pedigree Foundation grant for $25,000. Adoption events held by Lizzi and Rocco’s Natural Pet Market, PetSmart, Award Pet Supply, Treats Unleashed and Orscheln’s have generated new owners. In fact, 2,276 animals found a new home in 2010. Our staff also works with 11 rescue groups around the country.
We are fortunate to have our two staff veterinarians, Dr. Courtney Harral and newcomer Dr. Russell Ehlmann, who care for shelter animals and provide low-cost spay/neuter services for those in need. We also have great appreciation for our local veterinary professionals and provide a packet to each adopter with vouchers that encourage free exams within five days and continuing good care. Our other shelter staff members are working hard to keep the shelter clean, to improve customer service and to provide high quality care in the face of escalating numbers. Our board of directors is implementing a new strategic plan for our future and for our continuing health.
But we continue to face the challenges of an average monthly animal intake of 483 animals, countless spring litters of unwanted puppies and kittens arriving on our doorstep and those who simply no longer want their animals, for whatever reason. Above all, we are grateful to our community, to our colleagues in the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services unit and to all those who care about the hopeful faces in the cages at the Humane Society. On behalf of the thousands of animals we care for each year, we appreciate all your support and donations toward making your local Humane Society the best it can be.
President John Shrum for the Board of Directors, Central Missouri Humane Society