2019-04-25 ne-citybudget5_2

Rows of kennels house dogs waiting for adoption at the Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter in 2018. The city is working to make the shelter, 3031 N. Erie Ave., a no-kill facility. Tulsa World file

An ambitious eight-point plan to transform how Tulsa’s lost and orphaned pets are treated got a big boost last week.

The WaterShed Animal Fund, an entity within the Oklahoma City-based Arnall Family Foundation, made a $715,000 donation to the Coalition for Tulsa Pets, a group created in November to gather existing organizations and advocates.

For too long, abandoned and missing animals were housed in an understaffed city shelter that has become outdated and deteriorated.

This inadequate approach to care prompted Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum in September to outline a comprehensive reprioritization of the system.

The overall goal is to make Tulsa’s city-operated shelter, 3031 N. Erie Ave., a no-kill facility, but it needs a lot of help to get there.

The grant will add two staff positions, increase access to affordable spay and neutering services and add life-saving transport systems.

It bolsters the city’s changes made last year, including the addition of 12 staff positions, expansion of operating hours and hiring more cleaning crews.

Bynum also created an animal welfare advisory board led by former Mayor Susan Savage and brought on a consultant to evaluate a better way to use shelter space.

These type of partnerships between public, private and nonprofit sectors are critical for improving and maintaining important quality-of-life issues.

Getting animals off the streets and into homes is a public safety issue for keeping neighborhoods safe, and it’s the right thing to do.

Tulsa has had some success in bringing down the number of animals euthanized, but we are far from the goal of finding homes for all pets.

We thank the foundation for its recognition of the city’s animal welfare progress and for supporting its efforts to move forward.

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