Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Victoria Fowler
Gazette Reporter 

Whitman County Humane Society receives Petco grant


December 19, 2019

From left to right in front, Shelby Vasquez, Katelyn Snyder and Ashley Phelps of the Whitman County Humane Society hold the check awarded moments prior.

Whitman County Humane Society was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Petco Foundation as part of its Holiday Wishes campaign. The grant was awarded through the Moscow Petco outlet.

In its seventh year, Petco Foundation is awarding grants that total $870,000.

"This year we received thousands of stories from individuals across the United States and the Petco Foundation is rewarding grants totaling $870,000 to organizations across the country to save even more animal lives," said Brad Johnson, Moscow Petco general manager. "Whitman County was chosen thanks to Ashley's story."

To be considered for one of these grants individuals who have adopted a pet were invited to share how the pet has brightened their life. The person awarded will receive personal awards and the grant money would go toward the organization in which the person adopted the pet from.

Sharing her story of adopting her cat four year ago, Ashley Phelps, director of shelter operations, explained how adopting her cat led her to volunteer and then work permanently at the Humane Society.

"I adopted Felix just over four years ago now, it was my second year in Pullman, and my husband and I had just moved into a new apartment and it was pet-friendly," Phelps said. "I signed up to volunteer that day and got involved then. I didn't think I would be here now as the director. Felix got my foot in the door and it has obviously changed my whole life and now I'm doing this for a living."

Wendy Ortman, vice president of the Whitman County Humane Society board of directors, said this grant will help with additional staffing and resources needed for the shelter.

"The shelter is incredibly understaffed at all times," said Shelby Vasquez, shelter administrator. "There's just not enough of us."

Katelyn Snyder, assistant director of shelter operations, said for a smooth day at the shelter having at least three people on duty helps, but there are times when it is just two people and it becomes stressful.

"We hope to be able to hire on another part-time person or three-quarter time person, that would help so much," Snyder said.

Ortman said that since 2015 the shelter has almost tripled in the amount of animals they take in.

Phelps mentioned on average there are approximately 30-50 animals available at the Humane Society. She added that currently they have a large number of kittens with more on the wait list.

"Since we are a no-kill shelter, we have to limit how many animals we take in based on space, since we will never euthanize to make space," Phelps said. "Many of our adoptable animals are cats and kittens, but we always have a handful of dogs and sometimes exotic pets and puppies, too."

She added just this past year just less than 600 pets were adopted.

Ashley Phelps, director of shelter operations, poses with her cat Felix who she wrote the story about to win the grant.

Along with the Holiday Wishes grant, Whitman County Humane Society is in the running for a People's Choice grant. This grant allows the public to vote on their favorite story, out of all that were submitted nationwide.

The People's Choice grant is given to the top five stories. The price range for the grants can be from $5,000 to $25,000. The deadline for this additional grant is Dec. 20. Anyone interested in voting for Whitman County Humane Society can visit http://wshe.ed/ODlyLvZ2 to vote.

"The biggest thing I feel is that a lot of people don't know that we exist," Vasquez said. "We are here and we are ready to help and serve the community and we are always in need as well, as much support as we can get we would appreciate."


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