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Yuma's Best 2012: Humane Society of Yuma
Best Place to Volunteer, Best Public Service
As far as Shawn Smith is concerned, the role of the Humane Society of Yuma is not just finding a healthy, happy home for every dog or cat that its shelter takes in.
Its mission is also to pair those animals with peoples whose lives will, in turn, be enriched by the new pets.
“Pets really do provide a great, valuable addition to the lives of people,” said Smith, executive director of the humane society (HSOY)
That sense of purpose, he believes, is the reason HSOY has won the honor of Best Public Service for 2012 in Yuma's Best, The Yuma Sun's annual survey of its readers' favorite businesses, services and attractions in the Yuma area.
The non-profit organization that provides animal sheltering, adoption and low-cost spay and neutering around Yuma County also was picked in the poll as the Best Place to Volunteer.
Smith estimates that HSOY relies on the help of 100 volunteers, who perform such jobs as walking dogs, grooming, fund-raising for the organization, cleaning kennels, transporting rescued animals and performing administrative tasks.
The organization is able to recruit so many volunteers, he said, because “it's such a worthy mission, dedicating one's time to homeless animals.”
If anyone knows why people give their time to HSOY, it's Jim McQuinn, lead volunteer with the agency. His daughter was a volunteer before becoming a full-time employee, and today his granddaughter is likewise a lead volunteer.
People are motivated to join the ranks of HSOY volunteers, McQuinn says, because they see the lengths to which it goes to save animals, many of which come to the shelter abused and neglected animals.
“A lot of these dogs (that are brought to HSOY) have never had any love or been shown kindness from humans. I've seen these dogs come in here literally skin and bones. I'm proud to volunteer because I've honestly seen them bring them back from the brink of death.”
Low-cost spay and neutering that HSOY performs is a function every bit as important in the Yuma area as animal adoption, said Smith.
“We all know the tragic outcome of animal over-population,” he said. “Low-cost spay and neutering helps to battle that issue.”
Apart from HSOY capturing first-place honors in two categories of the Yuma's Best, www.hsoyuma.com won second place in the category of Best Website.
The humane society incorporated in 1963, and operated for many years on Figueroa Avenue. In December 2012, it moved into its current shelter location at 4050 S. Avenue 4½E.
Smith says donations from resident and other community support were key to HSOY's move to what he describes as larger, more modern and sanitary facilities.
“We have a great community and without their help, neither the Humane Society of Yuma nor other non-profit organizations in our area could continue their vital missions.”
He said HSOY continues to seek volunteers. For more information about HSOY or volunteering with the organization, call 782-1621 or visit its website at www.hsoyuma.com.