Who We Are
What We Do
OHS operates two primary programs:
- Pet Assistance Program*: OHS assists low-income families with access to low cost spay/neuter/vaccine/deworm and permanent identification for their pets. The charity will also subsidize these costs and occasionally other veterinary care for pets.
- Rescue Program: OHS works with community members and volunteers to rescue then spay/neuter and provide critical veterinary care for feral, abandoned, stray and homeless cats or dogs. OHS strives to provide safe homes through fostering and adoptions. We are 100% foster home based and do not operate a shelter, therefore, intake is limited to availability of foster homes. More foster homes for cats and kittens are needed. Feral animals are unable to be fostered or re-homed. They are usually returned to the property after healing from surgery to live out their lives as mousers but no longer breed.
We could not operate these programs without our donors, supporters, volunteers, and the care and compassion of our veterinary partners.
*The Pet Assistance Program requires application and qualification. It is dependant on income level, OHS’ resources, and veterinary partner availability. Veterinarians reserve the right to refuse service if applicant qualification is in question, or for any other reason.
Why We Do It
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.
On behalf of the Directors, Volunteers and Members of the Okanagan Humane Society, we thank all of the individual donors and the following granting agencies who generously support the animals we rescue:
Thanks to CanFel Foundation of Guelph, Ontario for their generous support of our work to stop cat overpopulation with multiple Spay/Neuter Grants.
Deep appreciation to Central Okanagan Foundation which has provided a generous 3 year commitment to help with the OHS Community Cat Trap Neuter Release Program, and in support of Low Cost Spay Neuter assistance for low income families to help fix their pets.
“The Central Okanagan Foundation is a community foundation providing an ongoing contribution to the quality of life in our community through building endowments, grant making and community leadership. We bring donors and charities together to provide for the needs of the community today, tomorrow and forever.”
We are very grateful for 4 years of funding received under the BC SPCA Community Animal Spay/Neuter Grants for Trap Neuter Release of feral cats.
Thank you for supporting the Farm Cat Rescue Program in North Okanagan in 2019. It is desperately needed and appreciated in these communities.
Your Community Foundation - For Good. Forever.
Annual funding has generously been provided by the B.C. Provincial Government B.C. Gaming Grant Commission in support of the Rescue Program.
Thank you to WestJet for providing our First Prize for the 2019 Raffle and making it a wonderful success for the animals. $15,000 was raised!
Support from private donors and granting agencies is critical to our mission work. Without you solving pet overpopulation in the Okanagan would not be possible.