As a longtime volunteer at Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), I offer information that addresses some of the distortions that have been printed in recent letters. I volunteer weekly for 10-12 hours to walk dogs and serve as an adoption counselor.
PACC is an open admission, no fee drop-off facility that takes in up to 100 animals every day. No animal is turned away, unlike private shelters that charge fees to help run their facility, and divert animals to PACC when they are full. PACC quarantines animals that have bitten, shelters dozens from hoarding cases, and investigates cruelty and bite cases as part of their legal mandate as a municipal shelter concerned with public health.
The reason PACC has a lot of pit bulls and Chihuahuas—like every other shelter across the country, including private ones—is because these two breeds are highly popular and thus are over bred.
Visitors to PACC will see a concentration of pit bulls housed in the temporary tent because of their short coats. The tent can’t be cooled lower than 85 degrees in the summer, so only shorthaired and younger healthy dogs can be humanely housed there.
PACC has about 150-300 dogs and 200 cats available for adoption on a daily basis. There are many breeds available, from Great Danes to Jack Russell terriers to loveable mixed breed cats and dogs. To view adoptable animals, please visit PACC’s website and see for yourself: http://webcms.pima.gov/community/animal_care/pet_adoptions/
Animals are never “sold” by shelters; they are adopted—an important distinction.
The reasons for surrender vary. Some animals wind up at PACC because their owners have moved to assisted living or passed away. Some people acquired an animal in haste; some experienced a divorce or loss of income.
Volunteers arrive between 6 a.m. and noon, and 5 to 8 p.m. when the shelter is not open or less busy. We walk dogs and perform other services such as grooming, training and socialization. For visitors during shelter hours, there are adoption counselors visible, but there are also many other volunteers behind the scenes.
Keep in mind that the main reason for Prop. 415 is because PACC was built in the 1960s, before Pima County’s population explosion that brought thousands of new people and their pets to the area.
I invite residents not only to visit the shelter, but to also ask questions of the staff about the needs of abandoned animals who are in the shelter through no fault of their own.
For about $3 a year for the average homeowner, we can have a new shelter that will save lives and money by reducing euthanasia and utility costs, and by improving efficiencies. A new shelter will increase adoption rates and the number of spayed and neutered animals, reduce the spread of diseases, and improve owner/lost animal reunion rates. Please vote Yes for Prop 415 to move us towards a more humane future.
(Editor’s Note: Nancy Young Wright has volunteered at PACC since 2004. She is a member of the Humane Society of the United States Arizona Council and has successfully worked on the passage of humane legislation and on many animal related issues.)