United Paws of Tillamook Income for 2008 exceeded 2007 Income. In 2007, we brought income in of $45,022 and this year we outdid ourselves with income of $58,787, even as the economy has gone “south.” From this standpoint, United Paws continues to be successful.
Our grants and awards were close to $14,000 in 2007; in 2008, we received $21,968 in grants and awards. Nearly half of our income came from out of county, but some undoubtedly from people owning second homes in Tillamook County.
Less than 5% of our income went toward administrative costs (our liability insurance is reimbursed by TLC Federal Credit Union) since this is an all-volunteer grass roots organization. Not only are we not paid, most of the United Paws volunteers pay out of their pocket for many expenditures.
Nearly $41,000 was paid out last year to local veterinarians, thus boosting the county economy, much of these dollars coming from out of county.
Spay / Neuter Program
The spay/neuter program is maintained by one person who responds to a hotline call for assistance. The spay/neuter volunteer negotiates every single authorization; while this may seem inefficient compared with other groups, such as Feral Cat Coalition that has set policies, we feel it is vital in our small community – if UP were to insist that every client pay a set amount, many animals simply would not be sterilized.
Since January 1, 2009, United Paws has approved 193 cats and dogs for spay/neuter. United Paws (UP) sterilized 848 animals in 2008; throughout the whole of 2007 we sterilized 656. Our total number now stands at 2,562 (2/20/09). This number does include the 110 cats spayed/neutered by the August 2008 Neuterscooter mobile clinic and the 134 cats spayed/neutered at the clinic’s February 2009 event. We helped 172 needy residents of Tillamook County to spay and neuter their companion animals; we assisted 157 residents, many of whom are the economically disadvantaged, to sterilize feral cats they care for; and we spayed and neutered 71 animals adopted from our foster program
Rescue / Foster / Adoption Program
This is the program which fluctuates a lot with volunteers, increasing, then decreasing their time commitment. It was never the original goal of the two United Paws “founders” to take on such an ambitious program; while rewarding it is a stressful burnout situation as there are no county resources for volunteers to fall back on. It knows no boundaries and the requests for help are endless. It takes a lot of creativity to come up with hopeful solutions for animals in crises. Somehow, the answers seem to come for the most part. This year 163 animals were adopted. Of this number 10 were dogs.
The adoption program is formalized, with foster guidelines, applications to adopt, references checked, adoptathons held, adoption fees applied to cover spay/neuter, inoculations/worming/fleas/mites. With no foster homes available, self-fostering is the offered option, which includes spay/neuter, various advertising, and the live adoptathon. Additionally, volunteers will screen applicants for self-fostered homes, although the home has the last say where the animal will go.
2009 & Beyond
UP intends to continue offering financial assistance for spay/neuter, because clearly need continues; and, given the economic situation everyone is facing, we can expect more cries for help. We are committed to feral cats and will continue to do everything we possibly can for them, they are so friendless and endure such harsh lives. We shall continue to respond to emergency situations involving companion animal suffering as we are able.
The future for United Paws? This all volunteer, grass roots organization has grown beyond all expectations. It has proven that a few people can make a difference in a county where before, there was no real resource for its cats and dogs. The message of spay/neuter continues to spread. People who once picked up a free kitten at the grocery store now are willing to pay small adoption fees.
United Paws depends solely upon private donations, grants, awards for its existence. In this very difficult global and national economy, can United Paws survive? We are hopeful!