How we can make a difference in the lives of these cats and dogs

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton is thinking big long term in what could equate to a huge deal changer for animals in Montgomery County.

The organization recently announced the Unleash the Change initiative -- a three-year plan for the area aimed at treating more animals while making them easier to adopt, according to the group’s president.

"We’re doing an expansion to transform the Miami Valley as it relates to animal welfare,” Brian Weltge said. “It’s going to allow us to expand the ability to do spays and neuters. Right now, we’re capped at about 4,000 spays and neuters a year, and we’ll never get enough in to fix the free-roaming cat population in our community.”

Though the year started off slow, Weltge said the Nicholas Road location has quickly reached capacity with stray or unwanted cats.

“Our programs are full right now, which kind of tells you something. All our foster programs are full. So we have lots of babies and young ones in the foster system,” he said. “Even though we work with all animals, cats are primarily the animals we work with. That’s because they’re seasonal breeders.”

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Unleash the Change would expand the current facilities to offer more room for strays or animals recovered from cruel or neglectful situations.

“Typically, we have to rent warehouse space or get other groups involved outside of this community. Last year, we had a farm case of 81 farm animals. Where do you put 81 animals? This will address those needs,” Weltge said.

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Helping low-income pet owners care for their animals is also part of the plan.

“We’re also going to be offering a full-service, low-cost hospital, mostly directed to people who are underserved in this community,” Weltge said. “It’s for people who are having a hard time getting the care they need for their pets, either because they can’t afford it or don’t have access in some way.”

Another important part of the grand design is building an adoption center more centrally located in Montgomery County to allow easier access to animals needing a home. Weltge said the Humane Society is considering a number of locations, but hasn’t made the final decision on one yet.

Of course, all of this is going to take a lot of help from the community to finance, as the Humane Society runs exclusively from the generosity if others.

Helping that cause will be the Fore Paws golf outing, Aug. 19 at The Golf Club at Yankee Trace in Centerville. A plethora of opportunities to get involved are available from forming a team or sponsoring a hole, to volunteering at the event.

“For those who love golf and love animals, it’s a great fit,” Weltge said.

Beyond money, the Humane Society is asking for time. They’re always in search of volunteers to keep their programs running and animals happy and healthy.

“We’re very blessed to have amazing volunteers,” Weltge said.  “But I think any organization that works with volunteers knows they can always use more. The reason our foster program is full is because we don’t have any more fosters in the program that can take babies that may come in today.”

The Humane Society’s foster program requires a one to four-week commitment, and could last as long at eight weeks in special cases. The organization offers training to join the program.

“It’s a labor of love and is an amazing help for animals in need,” Weltge said.