Brynn Grimley writes:
In today’s paper I wrote about a rescue effort that happened over the weekend where 34 small dogs made the long trip from Porterville, Calif. to Washington — eight of them landed here in Kitsap County.
The back story of how this came to be is fascinating. If I was a reporter working for the newspaper that covers Porterville I would write a story about Amanda Corbit. She’s 17 years old and she’s responsible for getting the dogs out of the animal control shelter there and into our state with the help of Karla Mattila (she founded Another Chance Rescue in SW Washington).
Corbit started her love affair with animal shelters in sixth grade when a teacher had their class volunteer at a shelter to teach them about community service. She’s been volunteering ever since, and has now her whole family involved. They set up a nonprofit and offer a safe place for dogs to come to find a new home, instead of facing the alternative.
I was astounded to to learn from Corbit how overpopulated their shelters are with small dogs. She told me when a dog comes into the shelter at Porterville Animal Control it has six days for its owner to either come and claim it, or for it to be adopted. If that doesn’t happen, the dog is euthanized. Spay and neuter rates are low in their area because people can’t afford the cost, she said, adding because their community is overrun with small dogs, no one wants to adopt them when they come into the shelter.
Unhappy that so many puppies and dogs were being put down, Corbit started using the volunteer network to contact shelters willing to take some of the dogs. She and Mattila connected, and Mattila called shelters in Washington to see if anyone would take the dogs.
The Kitsap Humane Society was one of those shelters. The society was also in contact with another rescue effort to save dogs from a Kern County Animal Control shelter, also in California (somewhat near Porterville). That shelter, like the Porterville shelter, is considered a “high kill” shelter. (Here’s a 2008 story the Bakersfield Californian newspaper did on the Kern County shelter in Bakersfield and its alarmingly high euthanasia rates).
Stacey Price with the Kitsap Humane Society said when they learned there were small dogs in need of homes coming from California, they made sure they had room in their Silverdale shelter to get them adopted. As my story stated, this is the first round of dogs to come to the shelter from out of state. The society hopes to get a rotation of dogs coming in so that it can diversify the sizes of dogs it has available for adoption (right now it primarily has large dogs), and to help high kill shelters reduce their numbers.
The first round of dogs to come to our area from Porterville were transported by Corbit’s mom and brother to Redding, Calif. where one of Mattila’s volunteers met them and brought them to their shelter in Cowlitz County. An animal control officer from Kitsap picked up the dogs early Sunday morning and brought them back to the peninsula to be checked out before they could be put up for adoption.
Porterville Animal Control paid for the cost of preparing the dogs for the journey — which included giving them heart worm shots, rabies shots and making sure they were certified to Washington State’s health standards, Corbit said. That cost the shelter $4,000. Mattila paid for the transportation costs.
They hope to orchestrate another rescue in the coming weeks, but need to get the money to finance the health checks and transportation costs.
People interested in donating to help with future transports can email Corbit to get the address of where to send a check. Her family has set up a nonprofit shelter and helps foster dogs in their area. Mattila’s shelter, based out of Silver Lake, Wash., is also a nonprofit. People can specify how they want to see the money spent (i.e. for dogs to be transported to Washington for adoption).
Corbit’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The more (dogs) we can get up there the better,” she said. “But unfortunately the more we send up there, the more expensive it gets. We want to make people realize down here they can make a difference in the dog’s lives.”