Etcetera - 6/19/13

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A $20,000 grant from Petco Foundation to Cats Galore is, well, the cat’s meow.

The gift is intended to support animal welfare efforts in Umatilla County, according to Lyla Lampson, president of the Milton-Freewater Humane Society, which does business as Cats Galore.

The funds bought a van to transport feral/wild and low-income-owned pets to and from low-cost spay/neuter clinics.

Proceeds will also be used for adoption events and shelter transfers primarily for animal welfare groups in Umatilla County.

Since it was started in 2003, the non-profit humane society has promoted spay/neuter and adoption and education to prevent pet overpopulation, Lyla said in a release.

For the past decade, the society has adopted out more than 1,400 cats and a few dogs and birds.

It has assisted in getting more than 12,000 cats spayed/neutered, the majority being feral and stray felines.

With the grant the society purchased a 2012 Chevrolet Sprint 3500 XL 15-passenger van. Its rear passenger seats were removed and added shelves will make room to haul cats and dogs to low-cost spay/neuter clinics.

The society and Pet Utopia in Pendleton plan eventually to use the van for monthly rounds of Umatilla County to pick up low-income owned pets and feral cats that need to be spayed/neutered at rates affordable to the lowest income pet owners.

Lyla said availability of low-cost spay/neuter is important in reducing the number of unwanted companion animals in any given area.

Before they had the van, low-cost spay/neuter for pets of low-income individuals and/or for feral cats was limited and sporadic, especially in the western portion of the county.

Now, with the van, as many as 70 cats at a time can be transported to wherever spay/neuter is available at greatly reduced prices at any given time, even if it is 250 miles away.

The society’s Cats Galore shelter/sanctuary receives funding from Nine Lives, a community thrift store. Cats Galore participates in cat adoption events at Petco in Walla Walla every two to three weeks and has cats for adoption daily at Nine Lives, 1008 S. Main St., Milton-Freewater.

They specialize in adopting stray cats and tamed feral kittens while trying hard to ensure the mother cats are spayed/neutered and released back to their home area.

For more details, contact Lyla at 541-938-2424 or lampsonl@motioncodec.com.

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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