Donations keep Multnomah County animal shelter running
Each year during warmer months, Multnomah County Animal Services shelter in Troutdale sees an influx of kittens. So to effectively manage that increase in fur babies, the organization established a kitten triage program.
The program provides a health assessment for any kitten entering the center. It relies on donations, said Jay LeVitre, Animal Services communications coordinator.
In 1997, the nonprofit Friends of Multnomah County Shelter Animals was established to raise money for the county animal shelter. The organization's president, Karol Dietrich, donated $10,000 to the Multnomah County Animal Services on Tuesday, July 2.
"On behalf of the board of directors of Friends of Multnomah County Animal Shelter Animals, we are pleased to present this $10,000 matching fund check to Multnomah County Animal Services 2019 kitten triage program," Dietrich said.
LeVitre recalled a story about a kitten named Daniel that illustrates how the triage unit helps.
"When he was days old, he was being bottle fed, and they discovered a staph infection that they think developed while he was in the womb," LeVitre said. "From that staph infection, his skin was actually coming off. He required some extensive veterinary care to surgically close the wound."
Daniel's foster caregivers monitored, cleaned the wound and administered antibiotics to treat the infection. Because the triage program caught Daniel's health issue early, he was able to be treated before it became a bigger problem.
"That's highlighting a tremendous population of kittens that before this program we weren't able to save," LeVitre said. "Now, we can save 95% just because the support of the community."
In addition to monetary funding, the group relies on volunteers to foster kittens, said Wade Sadler, Multnomah County Animal Services interim director of animal services.
"We have a network of foster homes," Sadler said. "To put them into foster care because many of them have more significant needs than a normal animal would — especially with neonatal kittens. They need to be bottle fed."
Sometimes the kittens must be fed every hour, 24 hours a day.
"So we rely on our foster homes to provide a support for that," Sadler said. "They stay in foster care until they're old enough to be spayed or neutered and rehomed."
The triage program provides supplies to foster homes, such as kitten formula, medications and vaccinations.
"That goes above and beyond what a normal cat would receive because of their young age," Sadler said. "They're much more susceptible to illness."
How many kittens are saved?
Multnonah County Animal Services started its kitten triage pilot program in 2012. By 2018, the center served more than 1,100 kitties.
Since the program's inception seven years ago, the number of kittens served has consistently increased. The shelter has helped more than 420 felines so far this year.
For more information about Multnomah County Animal Services, visit www.multcopets.org,