Photos & Video by Don Backman for the Tillamook County Pioneer
The local not-for-profit United Paws of Tillamook is proud to announce the opening of an in-house high-volume spay/neuter surgery clinic created to greatly increase the number of companion animal sterilization surgeries performed in Tillamook County. This will allow United Paws to combat pet homelessness more successfully by reducing overpopulation.
“Overpopulation is the root cause of most companion animal suffering, and United Paws’ primary mission is to alleviate such suffering,” says Karen Schrader, President. When pets go unspayed, unwanted young are born and often become homeless, where they will breed to produce more homeless animals. The sad truth is that these animals go without adequate shelter and food, often dying prematurely of exposure or starvation after much suffering. “Our models suggest over a thousand kittens in Tillamook County die each year under such circumstances. That is tragic and wholly unacceptable.” United Paws is able to rescue and place for adoption over 100 kittens each year, but a lack of more foster guardians and finite adoption possibilities means most newborns must fend for themselves in an unforgiving environment.
In addition to the surgery suite, United Paws is also outfitting a clinic exam room where regular wellness clinics can be held, open to low- and no-income pet guardians, for services such as vaccinations, microchipping and basic exams. The rising cost of veterinary care and the relatively large lower income population in Tillamook County mean these services are in high demand. “We are not trying to replace our regular veterinary clinics.” explains Schrader. “On the contrary, we are trying to fill the need of those less fortunate who simply cannot afford to use their services.”
The costs of this endeavor are substantial, and United Paws like many not-for-profits has seen a significant drop in donor contributions during COVID-19. “We hope the community will get behind this investment with their support, and feel a sense of pride knowing that they are doing something to stop companion animal suffering,” offers Schrader. Donations can be made online at www.unitedpaws.org or via check to United Paws, P.O. Box 159, Tillamook, OR 97141. “Remembering United Paws in your estate planning is a marvelous way to leave a legacy of caring and empathy.” adds Schrader.
The need for spay/neuter services is great. United Paws presents a crucial option for those without the money to visit a regular vet. The group also works hard to control the number of outdoor community cats through their trap-neuter-vaccinate-return program. “Overpopulation is a cycle of suffering.” comments Schrader. “We need this surgery center to help break this cycle. This facility matches those usually found only in larger cities and is something the entire county should be very proud of having here.”
This new facility also means new opportunities for the community to volunteer their time in support of this important mission. Schrader notes, “This is a wonderful chance for people who enjoy being around animals to be part of a specialized team supporting the veterinarian doing life-saving work.” Anyone interested in volunteering should contact United Paws via their Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In its fight to alleviate companion animal suffering due to overpopulation, United Paws has facilitated, through local veterinary clinics, the spay and neuter of over 8,000 cats and dogs in the past 16 years. Through its very successful rescue/foster/adoption program, the group rehomes over 100 cats and dogs each year. Their education program seeks to create informed pet guardians and an attitude of compassion toward all animals.