Dizzying stats at CVA Sanctuary

Special to the S-E

Success leads to crisis point

During the past year, statistics from the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary indicate the non-profit continues to keep its small volunteer staff, and one paid employee, more than busy:

*They took in 623 dogs and cats needing shelter, food and medical care. Seven cases involved mass neglect, including over 300 malnourished, injured and ill cats that had been in colonies or the streets.

*CVAS adopted out or transferred for adoption 567 cats and dogs.

*They provided long-term care and rehabilitation for “less adoptable” and badly injured animals.

*The facility provided low-cost vaccinations for more than 900 pets.

*CVAS responded to more than 6,000 phone calls from people seeking assistance with animals.

Over 5,000 miles

*They logged over 5,000 miles transporting animals to veterinary appointments, emergency rooms, spay and neuter clinics, and partnership animal welfare facilities.

Since their inception in 2002, CVAS has seen a steady and increasing demand for services as more people become aware of how the Sanctuary can help them.

But there’s a downside to their success: the non-profit is so sought-after for help that they now face a crisis.

“The situation is clearly unsustainable,” says volunteer and Interim Board member Mary Ikagawa. She notes that pleas for animal assistance now come from Pend Oreille and Ferry Counties, as well as far-flung points in Stevens County.

“More community involvement will be needed if the Sanctuary--the Tri-county area’s largest animal shelter-- is to continue providing the same level of service,” she says.

Not counting building and infrastructure, Ikagawa says CVAS’s 2015 operating expenses totaled $99,400. That year, 521 animals found refuge at the Sanctuary; costs included food, equipment and supplies, utilities, fuel, repairs and maintenance, surgeries and medicine, taxes, and insurance.

And now the Sanctuary contemplates a need for salaries. CVAS volunteers hear it often: people call for help, many thinking they are calling a government-run facility, and complain that they only get an answering machine. Frequently, no one can answer the phone due to the skeleton crew of volunteers, whose first priority is feeding and cleaning. Often, return calls can’t be made until evening. Adding some paid positions would help eliminate gaps in service to the community Ikagawa points out.

Read the entire article in the S-E Sept. 14 edition. The S-E can also be read online through a one time purchase of an e-edition, or through an e-edition subscription.