Editor's Note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the holiday wish lists of Mid-Columbia nonprofits and how you can help. Does your nonprofit have a specific need for items the community can help provide? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with attention to Holiday Wish List. Please include the name and mission of nonprofit, contact information and a few specific needs.
A little kitty named Faith lived up to her name last month when an unknown person set her tail on fire and left her for dead.
Faith survived her horrific ordeal when a member of Pet Over Population Prevention (POPP) found the seriously burned feline and rushed her to the VCA Animal Medical Center in Richland.
"I will never understand how people can be so cruel," said Faith's foster mom. Kathleen McNabb.
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Faith is on the mend and doesn't shy away from human contact, despite the abuse.
"She still purrs and cuddles when I hold her," McNabb said.
McNabb, who lives in rural Benton County, has volunteered to foster abandoned and neglected cats for POPP for several years. She is one of hundreds of volunteers serving Tri-City animal organizations and shelters, which rely on public donations to help abandoned and abused animals.
POPP has adopted out approximately 400 pets to forever homes so far in 2013, said Molli Van Dorn, the group's founder. They've helped nearly 2,000 community pets receive a spay or neuter. They are always in need of dog and cat food, as well as cash donations.
Another local organization, Prevent Homeless Pets, recently opened a spay and neuter clinic in downtown Benton City.
The clinic provides low-cost spay and neuter procedures for cats and dogs, whether feral or domesticated, and has served more than 2,000 animals this year.
A fundraising campaign to begin Dec. 1 aims to raise $25,000, founder Harriet Johnson said.
"The public's continued support allows us to maintain our affordable prices," Johnson said.
The Tri-Cities Animal Control facility in Pasco is a no-kill shelter that picks up stray and abandoned animals reported within the city limits of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland.
The public can also drop off stray cats and dogs found on their property, which are held for three days. If pet owners can't be located the animal is then put up for adoption.
In rare cases, animals with severe injuries or terminal illnesses are euthanized.
The shelter is always in need of food and supplies for its temporary boarders, including collars, pet carriers, blankets, towels, trash bags, leashes and flea and tick collars.
Benton Franklin Humane Society is a private nonprofit organization solely supported by contributions from the public, said director Elaine Allison.
Besides pet food, dog and cat beds, grooming supplies, and other items needed to keep animals clean and healthy, the humane society can also use laundry detergent, bleach and dishwashing soap, Allison said.
All the animal agencies welcome cash donations that pay for veterinary services, such as Faith's surgery after she was burned. Many local vets charge the nonprofits reduced fees for their services.
Faith was found wandering in Kennewick two weeks ago by a business owner, who then called POPP.
"We had the woman take Faith to the Animal Medical Center for evaluation," Van Dorn said. "AMC works very closely with POPP after we took responsibility for Faith's future."
Faith's tail had to be amputated and she was treated for burns on other parts of her body, Van Dorn said. She also had a broken leg from being abused. Her medical bills are more than $1,000 so far.
McNabb also says all pet rescue organizations welcome volunteers for foster care until permanent homes can be found.
"Many people abandon their pets because they can't afford to spay or neuter them," she said. "There is no excuse for that kind of thinking when you have POPP and PHP making it affordable.
"And we are always in need of volunteer foster homes where these innocent animals get a second chance at life."
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com; Twitter: @dorioneal