City celebrates National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Wednesday, 07 November 2007
Lost, rescued and injured animals aren’t the only ones who benefit from the work of the City of Tulsa Animal Welfare Department – the often-overlooked public service provides many services and programs to help both animals and people, according to department director Larry Briggs.

“When combined, these services and programs play a valuable role in enhancing our quality of life,” Briggs said.  These services include controlling dogs that are running at large, rescuing injured animals, returning lost pets to their owners and adopting animals into new loving homes.

This week – November 4-10 – has been designated National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, and shelter staffers more than deserve a high five.  According to departmental statistics, the Animal Welfare Department fields between 60 and 70 calls per day on a variety of issues, including stray animals and reports of animal abuse. In addition, staff members are trained to offer the public personal guidance on animal-related issues and concerns, from dealing with wildlife to helping with pet behavior questions.

“Our mission is to assure Public Safety and Public Health,” Briggs said. “Tulsa’s citizens have the right to walk our streets and neighborhoods and feel safe. This means that animal owners must follow the city ordinances related to controlling and caring for their pets.”

Briggs said the department is committed to reducing the number of unwanted animals in the community.

“In an average year, over 8,000 dogs, cats and other animals are impounded by our animal control officers, and another 5,600 are brought to the shelter by the public,” he said.  “Of those animals, not quite half are redeemed by their owners, adopted out, or released to rescue groups.  Our goal is to increase the number of animals who are adopted and redeemed, and to offer more volunteering opportunities.”

Residents can help the City of Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter in many ways.  Millicent Adu H’Torah, Program Planner for Tulsa Animal Welfare, Department of Working In Neighborhoods, said that in addition to dropping off donations of needed supplies – towels, collars and leashes, bandanas, tennis balls, dog biscuits and other non-rawhide dog treats, and plastic (washable) cat toys – the public can get involved by spreading the word about the importance of responsible pet ownership, including spaying and neutering, volunteering at the Shelter or at a special event, and reporting animal cruelty and neglect.

Of course, choosing a pet from the many animals being cared for at the Shelter is an option.  Adu H’Torah said the shelter currently houses many dogs and cats who are ready to be placed in loving homes.

“And the shelter is always in need of volunteers to assist both at the Shelter and with educational programming, including speaking to school groups,” she said, adding, “The rewards are great.”

For more information about the services available at the Animal Welfare Shelter, or to volunteer, call Millicent at 669-6289.

The Shelter is located at 3031 North Erie Avenue in Tulsa.  Animal control officers are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The Shelter is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.  To report an animal problem, strays, or an animal-inflicted injury, call 669-6299 during service hours.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 November 2007 )