Nonprofit assists Grant County cats and dogs

By Angel Carpenter

Blue Mountain Eagle

The nonprofit group, Hope 4 Paws: Grant County, is hoping to make the season bright for cats and dogs through a Tree of Hope that has been set up at Huffman’s Select Market in Prairie City.

To help the dog and cat rescue program, people can choose a tag from the Christmas tree and return the item to the collection basket. The tree will be up through Dec. 28.

The requests range from cat food for kitten fostering to cash donations for the spay and neuter voucher program, which offers discounts on the procedure for Grant County residents’ pets.

Hope 4 Paws, which is staffed and run by volunteers, doesn’t have a local shelter, but with helpers they rescue, rehabilitate and place abandoned dogs and offer spay and neuter vouchers regardless of financial need. They also trap, neuter and return (TNR) feral cats and offer public education regarding proper dog and cat care.

This year, Hope 4 Paws volunteers trapped 277 cats with the TNR program in Grant County, which included 80 kittens, said Elaine Mezzo who heads up the cat committee, working with Susan Church and Mary Brown.

The program covered all but three cities in Grant County this year.

“We had a really big trap neuter return in Riverside Park in John Day with 100 cats,” she said. “The numbers are staggering.”

Fourteen cats were also recently trapped in the TNR program on Bridge Street in John Day.

When feral cats or kittens are spayed or neutered through Hope 4 Paws, one ear is clipped slightly so they know which animals have had the procedure.

A total of 124 kittens were cared for through a foster care program.

“We work with BrightSide Animal Center in Redmond and the Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend,” Mezzo said. “They place a lot of our kittens, and some are local adoptions.”

Last summer, kittens were found abandoned in the mountains and along a hot roadway.

“We get a lot of stray or abandoned kittens,” Mezzo said. “We would rather people call us for help or advice — a lot of times people don’t know what to do.”

She said the spay and neuter voucher program, which is handled through the John Day River Veterinary Clinic, has been temporarily suspended until they receive more donations.

Another Hope 4 Paws fundraiser, sponsored by Pioneer Feed, is coming up this month.

During the “Santa Paws” event, pet owners can have their furry friend photographed with Santa Claus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Grant County Fairgrounds.

“Our budget has been stretched this year,” Mezzo said. “Any donations that people can give stay right here in the county.”

For more information, call Hope 4 Paws at 541-575-0500 or, specifically for cats, 541-620-3336. The nonprofit’s Facebook page is Hope 4 Paws: Grant County.

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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