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New Ponderay Pet Shop Serves as Outlet for Shelter

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New Ponderay Pet Shop Serves as Outlet for Shelter

It’s been years since the animal shelter serving Bonner County determined to go the no-kill route and find homes for all the unwanted dogs and cats—companion animals—in the area, and if you haven’t been by there in a while, you would be amazed at what they’ve accomplished. Mandy Evans, Executive Director at the Panhandle Animal Shelter, was proud to share what they’ve managed to do, along with some stunning numbers.

“Right now, we average about 50 to 60 dogs,” she said—and that’s per day. Fifty to 60 canines, from puppies to senior adults, brought to the shelter by one means or another, where they stay until a loving home is found for them. The numbers for cats (and kittens) are even more staggering: “our lowest days on cats are about 60, but on our highest days we get about 200.”

If those numbers boggle your mind somewhat, what’s even more surprising is they represent a drop in the number of unwanted animals in the area, and that drop can be laid at the door of, among other things, the shelter itself.

PAS has undertaken many innovative programs in order to deal with the issue of unwanted animals, with a lot of focus going to the spaying and neutering of existing pets. This includes the ones they adopt out of their building on Kootenai Cut-Off Road in Ponderay, but they also provide funding for low-cost spay and neuters to existing pet owners in the county. “People who are receiving some form of government assistance,” Mandy explained, “can get a spay/neuter for as low as $20.” The price depends on the type of animal, its age, and its reproductive status (that is, an animal in heat costs more to have fixed). 

PAS is also hoping to receive a grant that will cover costs of going door-to-door in selected areas of town, identifying feral cats to be fixed, and offering coupons to owners of sexually active dogs and cats who contribute to the problem of unwanted animals.

They have also implemented several programs designed to ensure that the animals adopted from the shelter remain in the homes of their new parents. These programs ensure that so-called “problem animals” are trained in appropriate behavior before leaving the shelter, and also identify the best fit between an animal and a new home. These tactics have resulted in a drastic decrease in the percentage of animals who are returned to the shelter after being offered a home.

The shelter has achieved such success, in fact, that it’s now reaching out to shelters in Kootenai County to share their tips for success, and even accepts animals from outside the county when necessary, though Mandy says they ensure they always have room to take in local animals.

Another program that many may not be aware of is their effort to match senior animals with senior citizens—and senior citizens in financial need can often adopt a senior pet at no cost whatsoever. “It’s ridiculous to say that poor people somehow don’t deserve the love and companionship of a pet,” Mandy explained, and this shelter is committed to making that happen wherever it’s feasible.

These efforts could potentially have been derailed when a new pet store opened in Ponderay at the Bonner Mall, but shelter was happy to learn it was national chain Petco that would be opening up shop. Petco is known for its support of adoption animals, and manager Dan Schwartz began working with Panhandle Animal Shelter long before the store opened to ensure that the mission of finding homes for unwanted animals had the full support of the store. How that works in practice is that cages in the store holding cats “for sale,” are actually housing shelter cats that are available for adoption.  And every Saturday, shelter representatives are on hand with available dogs, so that someone walking into the store looking to purchase a canine companion can go home with a forever friend from the previously un-homed animals available at the shelter. “We’re very happy with this partnership,” Mandy said. “Very happy. Having a large organization that everyone recognizes supporting your program is a huge benefit, that brings people in the doors. We’ve already met customers at the store who didn’t know we had an animal shelter just down the road.” Several animals have also been adopted out from the store. “This is, in every sense, a true partnership.”

Petco is open in the Bonner Mall from 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 7 pm on Sunday. The Panhandle Animal Shelter, at 870 Kootenai Cut-Off Road in Ponderay, is open  from noon to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4:30 pm on Sunday. Pet adoption fees can range anywhere from $20 to $150, and include spay/neuter surgery, first vaccinations, deworming, and microchip implantation, so that if your pet is ever lost, it can be easily identified and returned to you. Obedience classes are also provided for dogs.

If you’d like to support the shelter but not adopt a pet, visit their website at pasidaho.org for the many ways you can do so.

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Landon Otis

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Homepage, Headlines, pets, Panhandle Animal Shelter, Mandy Evans, PetCo

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