The mission of humane societies is to stop animal suffering and prevent cruelty. This is usually understood to mean operating shelters and providing animal control services. Animal shelters in the United States are responsible for between 6 and 7 million unwanted, abused, and excess pets every year. What does a humane society without a shelter do to stop suffering? Plenty!
One of a small percentage of non-shelter humane societies nationwide, Palo Alto Humane Society (PAHS) has developed programs that are designed to keep animals out of the shelters. Shelters are important places, no doubt! They can provide haven for animals suffering terrible circumstances. But they cannot find homes for every abandoned, unwanted, uncared-for pet; there are just too many strays for the homes available. Close to 3 million animals are euthanized every year in our country’s shelters. Addressing this immoral disposal of living beings means addressing root problems that leave so many domestic animals homeless: animal overpopulation, unaffordable veterinary care, and lack of information about animal safety and care.
Palo Alto Humane Society seeks to work on these issues at the local level through a three-pronged mission that has guided its work since its founding 110 years ago: humane intervention, education, and advocacy. PAHS provides spay-neuter programs for feral cats and pets of low-income mid-Peninsula residents, help for people facing unmanageable veterinary costs, education in the schools, community outreach, and advocacy for good public and shelter policies. These programs help prevent the birth of unwanted litters of kittens, puppies, and rabbits. They help to stop “economic” euthanasia. They address causes of abandonment of animals on the streets or at the doorstep of the shelters that stem from wrong-headed policies, shelter practices, or public lack of information.
With this approach, PAHS is a first line of defense for many animals in our community. We invite you to join us as a donor or as a volunteer in our initiative Creating Compassionate Communities to ensure that kindness and care are extended to all our neighbors.
Featured Image Credit: Kids and dog: By Frank Gaglione for PAHS