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Wed, May 22

Donate to local non-profits to help community directly

Dawn Gonzales/Courtesy photo<p>
This is Blue, a two-year-old spayed female cattle dog mix. She gets along great with other dogs, is happy-go-lucky and really enjoys her walks and spending time with people. If you would like to meet Blue or any of our other great pets, please come by the shelter or one of our adoption locations. You can call 445-2666 for more information.

Dawn Gonzales/Courtesy photo<p> This is Blue, a two-year-old spayed female cattle dog mix. She gets along great with other dogs, is happy-go-lucky and really enjoys her walks and spending time with people. If you would like to meet Blue or any of our other great pets, please come by the shelter or one of our adoption locations. You can call 445-2666 for more information.

Most of you have probably seen or heard one of the "buy local" campaigns here in Prescott, urging consumers to buy local products and services first when shopping. These campaigns make a valid point. Consumers don't always make the connection between their quality of life here in Prescott and the choices they make through their purchases. The major message of "buy local" campaigns is that money spent locally stays in our community and benefits our residents.

Local business owners make a huge contribution to our way of life here in the Prescott area. They volunteer for local organizations, give to local charities and patronize other local businesses. Their kids go to school with your kids. They take their investment in this community seriously because they have a stake in our success as a whole.

The same can be said of charitable giving. When it comes to donations, it works the same way. Prescott businesses need their residents to "buy locally," and Prescott-area non-profits need their supporters to "give locally." The Yavapai Humane Society is a perfect example. People donate to YHS because they have a passion for animals and want to help us save animals' lives in our community. People who are passionate about saving animals' lives also give to other worthy local charities, like United Animal Friends, Miss Kitty's Cat House, Circle "L" Ranch and PAALS. Together, and with your donations and support, we all work hard to save animals right here in our hometown.

There are also a lot of worthy charities trying to save animals' lives at the national level, but the funding doesn't trickle down like many donors think it does. It's vitally important to note that when local residents give to a national animal welfare organization such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), not one dime of that donation makes its way to Yavapai County or benefits one animal here in our community. This is not to say they're not doing great work! It's just that they're doing that great work somewhere else.

Humane societies and animal welfare organizations all operate independently of each other. There is no affiliation other than our names and the fact that we all have a mission to help animals. But even our names can be confusing. You might assume that the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is a statewide organization working to save animals across the state. They're not; they are a private humane organization working to save animals in Maricopa County. If you make a donation to AHS, your donation will be put to use saving animals in Maricopa County, not Yavapai County.

But while we may not have any direct affiliation with each other, animal welfare organizations do work together to save animals. It is a common occurrence for us to transfer animals from one shelter to another where they can find that forever home.

2009 has been a very tough year for nonprofits in Yavapai County. The downturn in the housing industry has taken its toll across the entire state, but it's even more keenly felt here in the rural areas. We know a lot of folks out there are struggling because we see them every day. At our receiving facility, we see the faces of those pet owners who bring their pets here and check that box marked "can no longer afford" on the surrender paperwork. We applaud them. It's not an easy thing to surrender your pet for that reason, but at least they care enough to bring them here and not abandon them.

Thank you to all the donors who have supported YHS for the past 37 years as well as the other great local animal charities here in Yavapai County. We all exist on your support and are grateful for every dollar donated. And to those who are passionate about animal welfare, thank you for giving locally! Because of your gracious gifts, we are making great strides in saving the lives of companion animals right here in our very own community.

Duane Adams, executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society, can be reached at dadams@yavapaihumane.org or at the shelter at 445-2666.

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