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Public invited to VVHS meeting
Written by Greg Ruland   
Thursday, 16 September 2010 00:00

Area residents will get a chance to ask questions and voice concerns about operations at Verde Valley Humane Society Adopt for Life Center during the society’s only meeting open to the public Friday, Sept. 17.

Al Ponce, the animal control officer for Cottonwood Police Department, patrols for stray dogs through Cottonwood neighborhoods Thursday, Sept. 9. The Verde Valley Humane Society  has invited the public to attend its annual board meeting Friday, Sept. 17, to be held in the community room at the Verde Valley Guidance Clinic.The termination of Yavapai County’s $33,000 contract to shelter animals at VVHS is likely to come up. Due to lack of communication, which the society blames on a faulty telephone system, VVHS was unable to negotiate a price for the contract, which was ultimately awarded to Humane Society of Sedona, according to Laura Fletcher, the organization’s secretary and treasurer.

The Verde Valley society’s decision to turn away strays picked up outside the boundaries of Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Jerome, which was prompted by the loss of the contract, will also be explained.

Likewise, information about the society’s financial status, its care and feeding of animals, its policy on euthanasia or anything else the public questions, will be open for discussion, Fletcher said.

“We’re very open about what we do here,” she said. “People can ask about anything they want.”

The society hosts one public meeting each year as required by its bylaws. This year’s meeting takes place in the community room at Verde Valley Guidance Clinic, 8 E. Cottonwood St., starting at 5 p.m.

The board’s newest members, Rhonda Cool and Angie Lazano, will be introduced to the public for the first time. They replace Nick Hunseder and Carol Nielsen, who stepped down in August, Fletcher said. Hunseder will be presented with a certification of appreciation for his three years of service on the board.

Nielsen declined to comment.

Hunseder was unavailable for comment as of press time.

Phase two of the expansion, which would double the capacity of the new center, and the hunt for $1.2 million needed to complete it, will also be on the agenda, Fletcher said.

While the society enjoys the support of thousands of residents, many who pledged money to complete the first phase of the expansion, others may have questions and concerns about the nonprofit, which board members will be available to answer, Fletcher said.

The center’s decision earlier this year to euthanize all of its cats due to the illness of a single feline, for example, could raise concerns, Fletcher said.

Euthanizing all cats when only one suffers an upper respiratory disease is a difficult but necessary choice because of the high probability the disease will spread throughout the shelter and the low probability medical treatment will succeed.

“We do the same thing with puppies when one comes down with parvo,” Fletcher said. “These diseases spread like wildfire and will endanger healthy animals. You cannot stop it.”

At the same time, animals with a good chance of being adopted are regularly sheltered and fed for as long as eight months at a time, Fletcher said.

The shelter maintains a relationship with Verde Valley Animal Hospital, which performs discount spay and neuter procedures for the society. However, only in rare circumstances does the shelter take animals to a veterinarian for treatment, Fletcher said.

“We just don’t have the budget to do that,” Fletcher said. The society’s Angel Animal Network fund is sometimes used to cover these costs. The cost of treatment for just a single animal, however, can entirely deplete the fund, she said.


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