There’s more to our new community animal shelter, High Country Humane, than first meets the eye. Yes, there are all the obvious components you expect to find at an animal shelter: lost pets being reunited with their owners, pets being surrendered by owners who are no longer able to care for them and newly adopted animals heading out the door with their new families, excitedly anticipating a fresh beginning.
But, there’s more. Our new shelter is offering “elevated animal welfare,” which means a broad expanse of services for pet owners will now be offered, along with a higher level of care for the animals at the shelter. Some examples:
When an owner calls to surrender an animal, an appointment is set up to meet privately with a counselor to determine if any other options are available. Many times, owners don’t have access to this knowledge beforehand and are grateful to find out that they don’t always have to give up a beloved pet.
On-site vet care is now provided for all animals in the shelter. When an animal arrives at the shelter, it is examined by a vet tech, evaluated for health issues and, if necessary, referred to the shelter veterinarian for additional care. All animals are immediately vaccinated and quarantined for several days to ensure they remain healthy before being put up for adoption. If an animal does become ill, the vet comes to the animal rather than transporting the animal to a vet clinic, making it less stressful for all involved.
An on-site spay/neuter clinic, which eliminates the need to transport the animal for surgery and helps decrease recovery time because one stressor has been removed.
Education classes are being planned to help owners deal with behavior problems before they become so difficult that it means giving up the pet.
A plan is being developed to open the on-site clinic later this year to provide low cost spay/neuter services and low cost vaccines to the rescue organizations and owned animals in our region.
These examples reflect the long-term vision of both the High Country Humane Board of Directors and the city and county officials that High Country Humane will become more than just an animal shelter; it will become a relevant community resource that provides high quality care for the animals as well as education for the pet owner.
While High Country Humane is new to the community, it has been “in development” for the last several years and is the result of a concerted effort by animal welfare advocates, local government officials and concerned community members to improve animal welfare in our community.
The shelter is located at 11665 N. Highway 89 at the site of the former Second Chance Center for Animals. When Second Chance closed in May 2017, the family of Dick and Jean Wilson donated the facility to the citizens of Coconino County with the provision that it be used primarily as an animal shelter for the next 30 years.
The Board of Supervisors for Coconino County was tasked with deciding whether or not to accept this gift. After an extensive review process and reaching an agreement with the city to combine animal welfare services contracts, the Board determined that having a larger, more up-to-date animal shelter was in the best interests of the community.
High Country Humane’s leadership team consists of Executive Director Steve Conrad, who has more than 30 years of experience in non-profit and retail management; Director of Client Care and Community Engagement Carolyn Burrell, who has worked in animal rescue on the local level for the past 10 years; and Director of Animal Care and Operations Stacie DaBolt, a respected national leader in animal welfare.
The shelter is open Tuesday through Friday, noon-7 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., to help accommodate the work schedules of most people. The shelter is closed on Mondays.
For more information, please visit: HighCountryHumane.org. FBN
By Pamela Tharp
Pamela Tharp is a board member of High County Humane.