Sand Springs Animal Welfare Expands Pet Pantry Program and Launches “Empty the Shelters” Event | New


More than ever, Americans consider their pets to be members of the family.

But as true as that is, when the family is going through a tough time — especially when the financial situation gets dire — pet expenses can be among the first to be cut.

For some families, that might mean keeping Rover home from dog daycare. Others may decide to forgo Fluffy’s wellness exam this year.

But for some families, actually feeding their pets becomes impossible.

“At the start of COVID, we had a lot of citizens coming to us to return their animals to us because they couldn’t afford to feed them,” said Tracy Arvidson, animal welfare coordinator for Sand. Springs Animal Welfare, the city shelter.

“We started donating food so these people could keep their pets in their homes.”

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It was the start of the Pet Pantry, a project that started small but — as the pandemic and resulting economic struggles continue — “has recently been organized into a larger program,” Arvidson said.

Proof of residency is not required to receive pet food, although the shelter tracks who receives food and how much, she said.

Of course, as food is distributed, new supplies are needed. Arvidson said cat food is most needed for the Pet Pantry right now.

“We’ve had quite a bit of dog food recently,” she said.

Loving foster and adoptive families are also perpetually rare.

Although a nearly $16 million general bond proposal that city voters passed last month includes $3.09 million to design and build a new, larger Sand Springs animal protection facility. on Wekiwa Road, just west of 129th West Avenue, it is not yet built.

The current shelter, on 21st Street between Adams Road and West 81st Avenue, is often overflowing with kittens and puppies, cats and dogs.

The Bissell Pet Foundation, a national philanthropic organization founded by Cathy Bissell in 2011, is doing its part to help — in Sand Springs and across the country.

As animal shelters around the world are in crisis with at-risk adoptable pets due to unprecedented overcrowding, the foundation is holding its longest-running nationwide cut-fee adoption event “Empty the Shelters” to trigger a national call for adoption.

The usually week-long event started on Monday and runs until the end of the month.

“With euthanasia of homeless dogs up 22% in the first quarter of 2022 alone, we knew we had to act fast to help animals at risk,” Bissell said.

“‘Empty the Shelters’ is the most funded adoption event in the country, and by extending the event to three weeks, we can help meet the immediate need to save lives.”

The foundation covers adoption costs to make pet ownership more affordable. This, in turn, helps reduce pet homelessness and euthanasia.

During the “Empty the Shelters” campaign, all pet adoptions through Sand Springs Animal Welfare through July 31 will cost $25. Typically, cat adoptions cost $70 and dog adoptions cost $85.

All adoptions include spaying or neutering, vaccinations, parasite treatment, deworming, microchipping, tag and license.

Empty the Shelters events have placed more than 96,068 pets into permanent homes in the United States and Canada since the campaign launched in 2016.

The July event will be held at more than 250 shelters and relief organizations in 42 states, the foundation said.

Events like this can make a big difference, shelter officials say.

Midway through the year, Sand Springs Animal Welfare had 330 dogs and 252 cats with a 91.3% release rate.

In 2021, the shelter welcomed more than 1,150 animals, about half dogs and half cats. More than 90% left the shelter alive, including through adoption, being picked up by their owners, or being transferred to other animal welfare organizations focused on finding them new homes.

“We’ve been full all year,” Arvidson said in a recent Facebook post advocating for foster and adoption homes. “We definitely need the help of our community to maintain our live streaming rate.”

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Adopt, Adopt, or Volunteer: Contact the shelter by phone at 918-246-3543 or by email at [email protected] or visit in person at 8620 W. 21st St.


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