Harriet Johnson was volunteering at an animal shelter several years ago when 14 cats were brought in.
They had been dumped in a rural area, and to make room, the shelter had to euthanize some other felines who had been on site for while and hadn’t yet been adopted.
It was painful for Johnson.
“I had worked with those cats,” she said. “I thought, ‘If I don’t do something, who will?’ ”
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That “something” was form a nonprofit to provide affordable spay and neutering for cats and dogs, with the goal of keeping that kind of sad situation from happening again.
Prevent Homeless Pets incorporated in 2009.
Its staff has spayed and neutered thousands of cats and dogs since, first working out of borrowed or rented space and then opening a clinic in Benton City.
The clinic, on Della Avenue, made its debut in 2013.
The group is different than the similarly-named Pet Over Population Prevention, or POPP, which recently saw its founder step down.
Johnson said Prevent Homeless Pets does important work, and as the holiday season winds down, it’s looking for continued community support.
Financial donations top the group’s wish list. Donations made through Jan. 6 will qualify for a match, doubling the help.
The group hopes to raise $15,000 during this campaign, bringing in $30,000 total with the match.
In its first year, Prevent Homeless Pets spayed and neutered 1,284 cats and 89 dogs.
The numbers have risen steadily since, and in 2015, the group fixed about 4,700 cats and more than 1,000 dogs — exceeding its goals for the year.
“Achieving this could not have been done without the countless hours of our volunteers and financial support from our community contributors,” Johnson wrote to the Herald.
The group works with feral or abandoned cats and dogs, as well as adoptable animals from rescue groups and shelters. It also spays and neuters pets of low-income owners.
For more information on the group, go to www.preventhomelesspets.org.
Donations can be mailed to the clinic at 812 Della St., Benton City, WA 99320, or made via PayPal on the group’s website.
Some other local nonprofits have needs too:
▪ Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties is seeking financial donations to help survivors with needs from paying apartment application fees to buying bus tickets.
Supplies such as bedding, towels, dishes, cleaning supplies and other small house hold items also are needed.
The nonprofit helps more than 900 domestic violence survivors each year.
▪ Heartlinks Hospice needs volunteers for a variety of roles, from visiting with patients to help in the office or Hospice Benefit Store in Prosser.
The next volunteer training starts in late January, and applications are being accepted.
To learn more, call 509-837-1676.
▪ Cork’s Place, a program of The Chaplaincy, is looking for financial donations.
They’re needed for a new school program and to cover scholarships.
Cork’s Place helps children and their families deal with grief after the death of a loved one.
For more information, call 509-783-7416.
▪ The Children’s Summer Day Program at Lourdes Counseling Center in Richland also needs financial support.
The program provides summertime therapeutic and recreational experience for local kids with behavioral, emotional and mild cognitive impairment.
“The main goal of the Children’s Summer Day Program is to reinforce and maintain the skill set children have learned so that they are prepared to successfully return to school in the fall,” said information from the group.