The Cowlitz County Humane Society is about 280 years old in dog years, says its director Charmaine Nawrocki. The “exceptionally old” building, which has housed the Humane Society for 40 years, needs repairs and more space, Nawrocki says.
Nawrocki and the shelter staff are looking to raise enough money during the Sept. 19 Give More 24! online fundraiser to jump start efforts to finance a new shelter and expand the vaccinations and spay and neutering programs. And within the next 3 years, the shelter is also looking to hire its own full-time veterinarian.
An expansion is important, Nawrocki said, because the Humane Society often takes in livestock. The shelter has housed goats, horses, cows, chickens and others. Without a “huge” foster network, Nawrocki said the shelter would be hard-pressed to properly care for these animals.
“We’re a rural community, so we want to make sure we’re accommodating the homeless animals we need to,” Nawrocki said.
Domesticated animals require large amounts of work that often stretch the shelter’s resources thin: each cat must be spayed or neutered, examined and vaccinated before it can leave the shelter, and some animals have behavioral troubles when they arrive.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize how much we have to do for (the animals),” Nawrocki said.
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Hiring on a full-time vet and expanding existing programs would help the Humane Society ready animals for adoption, Nawrocki said. She also said having an effective animal shelter reaches further into the community than some may realize.
“Animal control reaches every aspect of our county. Officers respond to neglect, injury ... cows blocking the roads,” Nawrocki said.
And it’s not uncommon for community members to find stray cats or dogs in barns or other structures on their property. Nawrocki said the shelter wants those animals brought in safely and that funds from donors and events like Give More 24! will equip the shelter with the training and healthcare resources it needs to keep those animals safe.
“We want to make sure people know that we’re here and we’re growing,” Nawrocki said.
The Humane Society will also host a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at J Squared Barrel House on the day of Give More 24!. It will include raffles and prizes.
Give More 24! is an online fundraiser from midnight to midnight on Sept.19 that highlights nonprofits of Southwest Washington. The chance to donate and a list of participating nonprofits can be found at givemore24.org.