2023 – A Year for the Books
Have A Heart Pet Shelter opened in the Spring of 2016 and has had amazing growth in its seven years of operation. The first year, we took in 134 animals. We have continued growth each year, except for 2021, when our intake dipped from 689 to 640. Even that small dip is remarkable with the impact of COVID in our community, with shelters and other veterinary facilities feeling the impact of the pandemic and reducing their services.
2023 has been our biggest year for animal intakes at 879 admissions, which is a 6% increase over our 2022 intake statistics. 879 admissions computes to 73 admissions per month for a tiny shelter in Yellville, Arkansas that is 100% volunteer-staffed. All the shelters in our surrounding area do an outstanding job with the services they provide to address the animal welfare needs locally.
Have A Heart views our programs as being a little different than some of the others. We have focused most of our attention on Spay & Neuter Programs, transporting animals out-of-state to major metropolitan cities that spay & neuter laws that reduce the number of strays and unwanted litters of puppies, and providing services such as low cost spay & neuter, as well as a pet food pantry so people at the poverty level can keep their beloved pet. This past year, we took in 499 puppies under five months of age. Most of these puppies (54%) were surrendered by owners who had unwanted litters from their pet and the remaining were puppies dumped or mamas found with puppies on the back roads of our counties.
Our program offers the ability for those people to do the responsible thing and have their female and/or male dogs sterilized at one of our low cost programs. 88% of those puppies were sent out of state to puppy rescues where people are ready to adopt them. The best part of this, all these animals are totally vetted (including sterilization) before they are adopted.
The pet food pantry also is for people who agree to let us help them get their unsterilized animals fixed. The agreement is we will help them as long as they agree to sign their pets up for a low cost clinic within three months of coming into the program. If they can demonstrate they are at or below the federal poverty level based on income and number of dependents in their household, we will sterilize their pets for $20 each as long as we have funding/donations in the program.
In 2023, we sterilized 1,790 animals which is a 39% increase over 2022. These numbers include all the animals that leave the Shelter with an outcome of adoption or transfer (805), all the animals sterilized at the Low Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic mobile services offered three times annually (351), those sterilized during the July military IMRT mission (87), those receiving services in our new surgical unit that performs surgeries one day weekly and was set up with the help of an ARPA grant an been in operation for six weeks now (129), and those cats sterilized through the Community Cat Project (418).
We feel fairly confident our numbers will continue to increase and help reduce the long standing problem of pet overpopulation in Marion, Searcy, Baxter, and Boone Counties. If you have a pet that needs to be sterilized and you fall into the low to moderate income level (as defined by the federal government), and cannot afford to have your pet sterilized, give us a call at 870-449-7387 and see if we can help. Our goals are to reduce pet overpopulation, the number of stray dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens, and to rehome animals to areas where people want to adopt rescue animals.
Our Cat of the Week is Savannah!
Savannah was an unclaimed stray found on an older gentleman’s porch. He posted her on Facebook Lost and Found and Have A Heart posted her on our Facebook page but no one came forward to claim her. She is a beautiful lilac lynx point Siamese. We estimate her age at about three years old. She is sweet and reserved. And she’s not too vocal, considering she is a Siamese mix.
If you’d like to meet Savannah or any of our other adoptables, give us a call at 870-449-7387 or stop by the Shelter at 657 Highway 202 West in Yellville during our normal business hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm. Hope to see you soon!