Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Letters

April 26, 2013

April 26, 2013: Letters to the editor

Housing of strays not part of contract

Mr. David Wallace’s letter to the editor on April 23 raises questions that we at the Kokomo Humane Society hope to address. We all feel that disaster preparedness in these days of unpredictable weather and other natural disasters is important for humans as well as their animals.

The Kokomo Humane Society does indeed have a capacity to house approximately 120 animals. Our purpose, however, is to serve as a safe haven for Kokomo and Howard County’s homeless animals, whether lost, abandoned or simply unwanted. Except for a few brief weeks in winter, we are at or near capacity every day, and we are constantly working to return animals home, transfer them to other organizations, or re-home them ourselves. Even so, more homeless animals keep arriving at the shelter, and they are our priority.

Additionally, we must take into consideration the health of all our animals, and those of owned animals displaced in disasters. In the case of many of our strays, we have no information about the animal’s history, vaccinations or health condition. We do vaccinate every dog or cat that comes to us without a vet record. We also clean and disinfect cages, runs and other animal housing daily. However, we do not know where a stray animal has been or what it has been exposed to, and there is no veterinarian on our staff.

Because of this and the constant intake of animals at our shelter, we do not board animals.

Our contract with the City of Kokomo and with Howard County is for animal control — picking up stray animals and housing them either until their owner reclaims them or until we are able to determine the best outcome for them. It does not include disaster housing. That is an area where we are working with Howard County and state officials to make sure that pet owners have a safe, healthy place to house their animals when they must evacuate their homes. That group is identifying a variety of places where animals may be housed, including temporary housing supervised by the State Board of Animal Health and other facilities.

This is a long process, and one that is being carefully considered.

Ultimately, every pet owner needs to be responsible for the health and safety of his or her animals. A detailed disaster plan is a good starting place. We may think it couldn’t happen to us, but the flooding of last week proves that it can happen anywhere, anytime.

The Kokomo Humane Society can help pet owners determine what they need for a disaster pet survival kit. Watch our website, www.kokomohumane.org, for more information.

Jean L. McGroarty

Kokomo Humane Society

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