Etcetera - 4/25/13

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Blue Mountain Humane Society is in its 46th year of serving Walla Walla, according to Executive Director Sara Archer.

A member of the Walla Walla Noon Rotary Club, she spoke about the BMHS’s mission during a presentation to Sunrise Rotary members at a recent meeting.

A record 1,115 pets were adopted last year, up from 800 pets adopted three years ago.

Once located near the airport, the society has been at its George Street site since 2003.

Through cooperative programs with other humane society facilities, BMHS has shipped many adoptable pets to other outlets in Seattle and other cities.

They’re assisted by a crew of 150 active volunteers and all the animals’ food is donated.

As a no-kill shelter, they don’t put down healthy, adoptable pets, although about 12 percent of the animals are euthanized for health or safety reasons.

Public support and donations helped BMHS become debt-free in 2011, Sara said.

Ten years ago they were unsure if they could continue operations with the debt load they had.

She also told Rotarians about the pet training program BMHS coordinates with the Washington State Penitentiary that employs prisoners to train dogs and cats.

Dogs must complete a good citizenship test to graduate. Through that success, they recently started a similar program for cats.

Both programs are enthusiastically embraced by inmates who can spend the time needed to improve behavior of the animals and make them more adoptable.

The cat management coalition, a program to reduce the number of feral cats in the area, has altered 2,800 feral cats since 2008. Local veterinarians donate their time to neuter cats.

This effort reduces feral cats because birth control is more effective than just removing cats from the population.

BMHS works cooperatively with Washington State University’s School of Veterinary Science to provide dogs for veterinary students to work on so most dogs are neutered for free, then returned to BMHS for adoption.

All dogs and cats are inoculated and neutered before they are adopted out.

BMHS also has ferrets, hamsters — and occasionally chickens — for adoption.

To volunteer or adopt an animal, see www.bluemountainhumane.org or call 509-525-2452.

Sunrise Rotary meets at 6:45 a.m. Wednesdays for breakfast and community interest programs at St. Francis Community Center, 722 W. Alder St.

For more information contact President Hank Worden at henry@worden3.com or 525-0838, or online see www.wallawallasunriserotary.org .

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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