Who We Are
The Okanagan Humane Society (OHS) is a Registered Canadian Charity #8888 17269 RR 0001 committed to spaying and neutering pets to limit pet overpopulation by providing access to veterinary care for the most vulnerable animals in our communities: homeless, lost, abandoned, feral and unowned cats and dogs, and pets of low income families who experience barriers to accessing veterinary care. OHS operates in all communities of the Okanagan Valley and relies solely on grants and private donations to fund this work.
What We Do
OHS operates two primary programs:
Why We Do It
These programs aim at solving pet overpopulation in the Okanagan and preventing unwanted litters of dogs and cats. OHS believes that pets are not disposable, and that no animal should be unwanted. Dog populations are largely controlled by municipal dog pounds with by-law and licensing requirements. However, many low income families have dogs as pets and therapy animals, but can not afford the vet costs for sterilization. Since intact dogs not only reproduce, but some also become dangerous, OHS attempts to assist with spaying and neutering to avoid these issues. This also results in lower licensing costs for low income families. Emphasis is placed on spaying and neutering cats as they are prolific breeders when left to roam unsterilized. There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 feral, abandoned, lost or homeless cats and kittens in the Okanagan Valley. Most live short, sickly lives succumbing to the elements, starvation, predation and disease. Few communities have cat bylaws in place and therefore cats are left to roam and breed unchecked, causing massive feral colonies often originating from unsterilized pets giving birth to litters outside. Females, as young as six months of age, can have kittens, often getting pregnant again before the first kittens are weaned. Constant litter-bearing and in-breeding produces kittens with birth defects, and a myriad of communicable feline diseases that can spread to other pets. Males fight for territories, breeding opportunities and food. Serious wounds often occur and can lead to infection followed by a slow, painful death. Spaying or neutering a cat reduces the number of unwanted kittens. Even feral animals can live longer, better lives if they are not constantly reproducing. They can serve an important rodent management role in cities and farm regions. Therefore, caring for ‘Community Cats’ can be a benefit to all. The health of these animals is important. Our mild climate means that rodents also breed rapidly, threatening productivity at farms, orchards, and wineries. Cats are often enlisted as an organic, non-toxic way to keep rodent populations in check. However, an over-abundance of free-roaming cats will attract predators such as coyotes and cougars into cities and rural areas which can be dangerous to people and pets. Therefore, controlling the cat population with spay/neuter assistance is practical and humane.