It has been a good year for RPís animal shelter
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By Mickey Zeldes  December 27, 2013 12:00 am

If you’re superstitious, 13 is an unlucky number. But 2013 has been a pretty good year for the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter.

We’ve had more public involvement, and with your help we’ve done more than ever before.  Let’s look back and review all the ways you’ve helped us be successful.

The shelter is on par to handle about the same number of animals as last year – just under 1,200.  It felt like a lighter kitten load this year – we’re optimistic that the lower number is due to our proactive, generous spay and neuter program that’s been running for several years.  For at least the past five years, we have offered free cat spays and neuters and very low-cost dog surgeries to our residents.  Included in our clinics are vaccinations and a free microchip.  That kind of program is almost unheard of through municipal shelters, but through innovative thinking and a designated funding source, we’ve been able to keep this program running.

A new “No More Lost Pets” campaign designed to help return more lost animals back home was rolled out this year.  Through the generous support of the Animal Shelter League, we are offering every pet in Rohnert Park and Cotati a free personalized Pet ID tag and a free microchip as a backup.  There is no reason for any found pet to hang around the shelter any longer than it takes for his worried guardian to drive over and pick him up.  And with a visible tag, more good Samaritans can just return the lost pet home and bypass the shelter altogether.  Last year 70 percent of dogs and only 14 percent of cats were returned home.  Our goal is to get that number to at least 85 percent of all lost animals reunited with their families.

We launched our Facebook page, and so far have accrued 2,312 likes.  Our immediate goal is 5,000 (then 10,000…then….) because we’re amazed at the power of social media.  Through posting photos of strays, more pets have been reunited with their families.  By posting photos of adoptable animals and everyone sharing them forward, adoptions are also increasing.  We share happy adoption stories and keep everyone in the loop about events and programs.  Be a part of our life-saving team by “liking” our Facebook page today.

Our summer camp was a big success again. More than 60 children came through the summer to learn about animals and responsible care of pets.  We linked up with FAIRE’s (Friends of the Animals in the Redwood Empire) Adopt-a-Teacher program and got every teacher at Monte Vista School to participate in this humane education program.  The whole school now gets bi-monthly issues of KIND News and in the spring we hope to offer each classroom a tailored presentation on pet care.  That makes Monte Vista our first Humane School.

Of the 1,200 animals that came through our doors, many had serious illnesses and injuries that needed some extra care to become adoptable.  Thanks to ASL’s medical fund, we were able to do leg amputations, eye enucleations, X rays, blood panels, and dentals to help make these animals well enough for adoption.  Dozens of animals went into foster homes to either grow up (mostly orphan kittens) or to recover from an illness or injury.  We helped Toothpix, a young Chihuahua who was turned in with both front legs broken, with the surgery and recovery he needed to repair his legs.  He is now adopted and doing quite well.  Daisy, a pit bull with two torn cruciates, just found a home and her surgery to repair her knees is scheduled for right after the holidays.  We couldn’t have saved these animals without your generous support and the help of our great network of foster families. 

All in all it’s been a great year and one, I hope, that made a positive difference in the lives of the animals and people in our community.  We look forward to serving your needs again in 2014.  Hope you all have a safe and wonderful New Year.

 

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.

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