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Another great year for KHS | IN OUR OPINION
Saturday will mark the annual meeting for the Kitsap Humane Society. Executive director Eric Stevens and KHS’s board of directors are asking the public to come and hear about the nonprofit’s work during 2013.
It hasn’t been that long ago that the Kitsap Humane Society was in the news for issues ranging from financial problems to a lack of leadership. But all that changed when Stevens took over.
This is the second full year that Stevens has been in charge and for the second time, the statistics show an organization that is working well. Just as in 2012, the Humane Society is doing its job well, caring for animals and caring for the donated dollars it receives.
In fact, there has been a significant increase in spay and neuter surgeries, thus resulting in fewer start and unwanted dogs and cats. They performed 17.5 percent more surgeries in 2013 compared to 2012 and the organization also had an increase in the number of low-cost surgeries offered to those with financial needs. The result of that was a drop of 17 percent in the number of stray animals during the past three years.
KHS has been able to maintain its euthanasia rate at 5.6 percent. It rehomed 4,200 of the 4,500 animals taken in, about a 94 percent rate. That puts KHS at the higher level when compared to animal shelters across the nation.
The shelter also balanced its budget for the first time in three years, financial reports show. That’s a difficult thing to do in an area where there are a lot of charities competing for donor’s dollars.
Additionally, shelter operations have improved. Not only has the board and staff added to the facilities with new small dog areas, it has added a part time canine behavior expert to work with dogs, so they are more adoptable. The shelter has added another receptionist so that all callers get quick return calls and in-house surveys show consistent high customer service feedback ratings.
KHS has expanded its board of directors to 16 to strengthen its committee structure and add to the number of people working on its behalf in fundraising and it meeting its goals of service to animals and to the public. It saw a 18 percent growth in its annual fundraising auction in 2013.
The staff and board has greatly improved its relationships with other Kitsap County governments including cities and the county as well.
It’s not easy to come to work every day and stare at the faces of cats and dogs who just want a permanent home. It’s not easy to make hard decisions on whether an animal is healthy enough to be adopted.
We owe those who work at the shelter — the staff, the director and board members — a huge thank-you for all they do. And we owe them congratulations for working so hard to turn things around at the shelter and making it a place the entire county can be proud of.
The annual meeting is at 3 p.m. April 12 at the Oxford Suites in Silverdale. Key accomplishments will be addressed by Stevens. KHS’ vision for the future will be given by Dr. Jen Stonequist. And Natalie Smith, the new director of animal welfare, will be introduced.