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Sequoyah Animal Advocates working to reduce abuse in county

Sequoyah Animal Advocate founders Paula Haraway, DVM, left,

Karen Smith, middle, and organization supporter Katie Napier, right.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - Recognizing a shared love and compassion for animals, two area women decided to form a non-profit organization to provide support for abused and neglected animals in Sequoyah County.

Sequoyah Animal Advocates, Inc. was co-founded in 2021 by friends Paula Haraway, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and Karen Smith, animal control officer and volunteer at Ahimsa Rescue Foundation in Muldrow.

As friends with a common interest, Haraway and Smith collaborated their shared ideas on short and long-term solutions regarding animal-related problems within the community.

"It is important to note that we are not a shelter but rather a resource and advocate for animals," Haraway said. "Our mission is twofold. First, we strive to spay and neuter animals based on the financial needs of individual households and availability of funds. Secondly, we provide educational opportunities to the community in order to assist them in gaining a better understanding of what it takes to own and properly care for a pet."

After responding to numerous animal welfare calls related to abuse and neglect with the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department, Haraway and Smith noted that two frequent causes in the cases were due to a lack of resources by the animals owner or a lack of education concerning responsible pet ownership.

"We identified that those on fixed incomes don’t always have the financial means to have their pet spayed or neutered", Smith said. "Another issue we recognized, were children practicing learned behaviors in an effort to force their pets to behave."

Haraway and Smith started attending community events and visiting county schools to teach and implement programs aimed at proper animal care. Their hope is that proper education will help reduce cases of malnutrition and neglect in our area.

"If we teach children the proper way to budget and care for animals, they will not only learn responsibility but gain the education needed to maintain a happy and healthy pet," Smith said.

The pair emphasized that the interest and generosity of local people has provided them with the momentum to organize their ideas and create a non-profit organization. However, their vision and goal to have a positive impact on animal welfare in Sequoyah County will only be accomplished through perseverance, hard work and community support.

If you would like to schedule an educational experience for your group or organization or if you would like to sponsor the sterilization of an animal ($70.00 per animal), you may do so by contacting the Sequoyah Animal Advocates, Inc. Facebook page or by calling 918- 319-2199.

The organization is currently located next to the splash pad in Muldrow and welcomes all animal welfare related donations including monetary, dog food, collars, leashes, etc. All donations are tax-deductible.

Lindsie Dyer, Staff Writer

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