OPHS reflects on impact of new location

Since the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society moved into its new facility off Old Olympic Highway nine months ago, the organization has seen a significant decrease in euthanasia rates and a slight increase in adoption rates.

OPHS reported that the number of euthanized animals was 3.98 percent for 2016, down by 2.42 percent from 2015 euthanasia reports.

The facility also took in 43 more animals than 2015 and saw a slight increase in adoptions by 0.3 percent.

Mary Beth Wegener, executive director of OPHS, believes the new facility is a much better environment for animals and the public.

OPHS moved into its new facility in April 2016 and opened it back up to the public in May. The facility added three modular buildings to house administration, veterinary services and a Kitty City building for cats and little critters such as chinchillas, rats and bunnies.

The facility also constructed what OPHS calls the Bark House — nine acres for a large dog kennel building that has heated floors and an indoor and outdoor area.

The Bark House currently holds 24 adoptable dogs at “Adoption Row” and every four kennels there’s a play yard available for the dogs to interact with one another.

Behind the Bark House, Wegener said there are trails available that make it great for the dogs and walkers to meander.

Wegener believes adoption rates will continue to increase because the new location is a much more pleasant place for both the dogs and the public.

“It’s a better way to show animals to people so they are both comfortable,” she said.

Wegener also noted that the facility was able to hire two new positions on staff: one dog trainer and behaviorist as well as one licensed veterinary technician.

“The doors that are opening up to us because of those two positions are exciting to see,” she said, not only for the health of the animals, but because now the facility can offer services like training classes and behavioral assessments.

Wegener said to have someone who can really help work with dogs that have behavioral issues makes a big difference, “to really help people who don’t want to have to give up their animals.”

She said OPHS would rather see animals stay at their homes than have to come to the shelter.

This year, Wegener said OPHS also has been able to work with shelters outside the state to take in more dogs at a bigger facility.

Wegener reported that OPHS took in 20 dogs, including 16 puppies, from a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Sacramento, Calif. She said OPHS was able to foster out the puppies and have them adopted.

OPHS also has brought in other dogs from California and Florida. Wegener said OPHS is, “not a little shelter asking for help” anymore, but instead is now able to reach out and help other high-kill shelters and animals.

She explained that while the people and animals of Clallam County come first, OPHS is fortunate enough to have the space to bring other animals to the shelter.

“We want to be a resource for other shelters,” Wegener said.

In the future, Wegener explained that OPHS would like to open a second building to house its vet services with a surgical suite, its administration offices and its cat building.

Every year, Subaru nominates OPHS as a local charity to receive a donation from its “Share the Love” event.

Last year, the donation amounted to $12,000 and Wegener said she is keeping her fingers crossed it will be close to that same amount this year so they can slowly start working toward a second building.

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