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San Leon, Texas (and neighbor Bacliff).

San Leon streets: post-Hurricane Ike.

San Leon common sight.

Feral cats abound in San Leon

Rocky and his San Leon owner.

Proactive Animal Rescue
Proactive Animal Rescue has as its objectives:
  1.  Keep pets in their existing living environments (except when conditions are so horrible AND you have a place to put the rescued animal);
  2. Improve pets’ living conditions through education, access to affordable veterinarian services and provisions for basic needs (dog houses, collars, etc…);
  3. Reduce pet over-population through spay-neuter education and action.

Wy Proactive Rescue?
The classic animal rescue operation is predominantly reactive – it takes an animal out of a subpar placement and moves him or her to a new and better place.  This is wonderful, life-saving work but in areas where there is little organized animal welfare activity it has three challenges:

  • It can be never-ending as it does little to stop the originating home from going out and getting another pet;
  • It is resource-depleting as it takes time, money, and resources to rehab an animal; and
  • It is desperate because there are far more offending homes than there are homes willing to take in the victims. 

To counter these challenges we have started to see something which we call “proactive rescue” – individuals in rural communities who, having first exhausted themselves with the traditional reactive rescue (“the animals just kept coming”), now going door to door to offer help, spay/neuter access, and education to raise levels of pet owners’ care and awareness.  We admire the entrepreneurial spirit, compassion, and off-the-cuff tactics displayed by the rescuers.  We also are in awe of the communities’ embrace and positive response to their efforts – it’s like some of them (of course not all) have been waiting for someone to come help them help their animals, their neighbors’ animals, and that lady down the street with the 29 cats.  With the right people and a few resources, we believe proactive animal rescue works.  We also understand that while it is for the animals this is first and foremost People Work.  With the rescuers’ permission, we share below their fascinating forays into some animal-owning, rural worlds.  

Lake County, Oregon

Lakeview (county seat), Lake County.

Lakeview home to 30+ cats--now fixed!

Abandoned dog in Lakeview.

Fred and Hot Shot -- Oregon residents.

San Leon Community Pet Clinic Day.

I. The San Leon/Bacliff, Texas project seeks to improve the day-to-day welfare, and reduce the over-population, of pets within a southeast Texas geography.  When we’re talking “improvement” we’re not talking high-end stuff – the area has significant poor enclaves and so the focus is on ensuring pets have adequate shelter and water in both hot and cold weather, they are vaccinated against cruel diseases and are spayed or neutered, they get treatment for routine flea/tick/worm issues, and they receive a modicum of human attention/interaction.  In one year’s time, three volunteers vaccinated over 500 dogs and cats, got 220 spayed/neutered, medically treated 100+ pets, and re-adopted to good homes (there will always be a need for some reactive rescue) 77 dogs and 28 cats.  The change in this community is palpable – so say residents, the rescuers, and two of 31Paws board members who did site visits.  More details (including photos and interviews) can be found on their San Leon Project page. Watch a video about the project.


San Leon proactive rescuer and pal.

Oohs volunteers spreading the word through barbecue

Christmas Valley Community Pet Day.

II. The second example is the Oregon Outback Project.  Oregon Outback Humane Society volunteers in Lake County, Oregon work to improve the day-to-day welfare of pets that live in a geographically large but sparsely populated rural area (there is one vet in the entire 8,000 square mile Lake county and most people don’t go).  They also work, using trap-neuter-release protocols, to improve the welfare of the frighteningly large feral cat population that abounds there.  Now they are creating a spay/neuter mobile unit (they are refurbishing a donated airstream trailer) with which they plan to travel and help pets and educate pet owners.  More details (including photos and interviews) can be found on their Oregon Outback Project page.  

Oohs feral cat TNR operation

Email: 31paws@gmail.com