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Logan city approves public dog park on 200 North

April 2nd, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Cody Littlewood

LOGAN–Cache Humane Society had a big day today after finding out that the city gave them green light to build a public dog park on 10 acres of land behind their animal shelter facility on 200 North.

The dog park is planned to offer a natural walking trail, fenced puppy area, water feature, and double gated entries, said Michael Bishop, the shelter’s director. The shelter will be gathering input from the community over the coming months to see what it wants in its dog park.

“I think as far as the staff and the individuals directly involved they are all very excited,” said Bishop about the dog park, “[but] I’ve seen more excitement among the citizens.” The shelter has also been working with the city and the county to add an animal annex to its emergency plan. The dog park will serve as a holding area in any emergency, even an apartment fire, said Bishop.

“You’re probably looking at a year and a half out,” Bishop said. The humane society still needs to ratify its decision through its board of directors, raise the funds, gather input, and plan the facility, but this is a big step.

Using the numbers from the census and the average amount of animals to households, Bishop said animal control officer Karen Bontem estimates there are over 12,000 dogs in Cache Valley. Bontem could not be reached at the time of press.

In addition to this the humane society is announcing inexpensive, public spay and neuter services that will begin to be offered at their facilities. The prices are $35 or $45 respectively for cat neuters or spays, and $50 or $60 respectively for dog neuters or spays.

The homeless dog and cat population in Cache Valley is far greater than most citizens realize, Bishop said. The valley now maintains a feral, or wild, cat population of thousands upon thousands. Hundreds of dogs have no food and no shelter to protect them from the bitter Cache Valley winters.

By the end of this month the humane society will have adopted out 80-90 animals. Last month they hit a high by adopting out 67 dogs. “[Those are] animals that would have euthanized or let out into the wild by their owners,” says Bishop. Too often pets are set out into the wild after being domesticated. While some pet owners may view this as human the animals have no resources to find food or shelter and starve or die of hypothermia.

On a national level, more than 9.6 million animals are euthanized annually, according to Associated Content who did a study of 1,000 shelters. Some of the animals are violent or diseased are euthanized out of necessity, but many of the animals could be enjoyed by a loving owner. AC also says that 71 percent of cats that enter shelters are euthanized because they are rarely wearing collars to identify their owners.

The largest problem that Cache Humane Society faces is funding for their shelter. It is a non-profit 501 (C)(3) independent organization. A common misconception is that shelters are part of this larger organization called the Humane Society, Bishop said. Every shelter is independent and there is no one large organization that umbrellas them. This shelter, in particular, runs a deficit quite often. The organizations charges minimal fees to those giving away their pets and those adopting them to help pay for medical costs, food, and heat.

The organization accepts tax deductible donations from local businesses and citizens as well, he said. Donations are only a small part of the funds that contribute to housing the pets while they wait for a good home though.


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