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Precious cargo


Orphaned dogs are finding homes up north, thanks to interstate coordination among animal-rescue groups.

Jerry Shottenkirk August 15th, 2012

A number of Oklahoma City dogs are in need of a good home after being given a second chance, thanks to the Central Oklahoma Humane Society and some unlikely friends up north.

In April, the nonprofit began its Homeward Bound program, which places dogs that have been surrendered by their owner for one reason or another. Their previous owners’ loss is the gain for dog lovers in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Christy Counts, president of Central Oklahoma Humane Society, said the program is off to a good start.

“We are doing two or three transports per month, and there are 30 dogs per transfer,” she said. “This trend is moving around the country. Our goal is to be a good partner with those who want dogs. We’re hoping to move 1,500 per year.”

She said the overriding goal is to keep the animals from being euthanized.

“A lot of time, someone will get a puppy and it winds up being too much to handle. In other cases, living situations change, and then there are also allergies,” Counts said.

Grants, donations and ongoing fundraising have allowed for the construction of the Steven J. Bentley Quarantine Facility at 7500 N. Western, and a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provided a vehicle for transfer.

The 4,500-square-foot facility is not open to the public, but donations can be made through the Central Oklahoma Humane Society.

“This is not the solution, but it’s a Band-Aid,” Counts said. “There are major overpopulation issues in this part of the country, but in areas in the north and west, as well as the East Coast, there is a shortage of shelter dogs.”

Homeward Bound does not accept aggressive dogs, and proper documentation is required.

“Through the quarantine facility, we can make sure they are healthy before transporting,” Counts said.

It’s no easy trip to the Minnesota and Wisconsin facilities, she noted. The drive can take upwards of 15 hours, although Counts said the climate-controlled vehicle makes it possible to transport the dogs safely.

The Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division took in 18,500 dogs and puppies last year. About 6,000 were surrendered by their owners, and such dogs often get ill from exposure to other animals. There is no surrender fee through Homeward Bound.

For more information, call 286-1229.

 
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