A working group of Humane Society of St. Thomas and Lucky Paws Foundation board members met on June 29 to jump-start a new collaboration between the two organizations to address the islandwide crisis of animal homelessness.

The alliance will pave the way for a compassionate community and responsible pet ownership through education, spay/neuter campaigns, fundraising, and sharing operating resources, the groups said in a news release.

A common goal of the two organizations is to reduce the number of unwanted animals being surrendered at the Humane Society and abandoned at community locations such as dumpsters. The most direct way to do this is to share information and increase access to spay and neuter services. Reducing the number of litters born is essential to end the surplus when the number of animals entering the shelter exceeds the number of adoptions. For example, in the past 30 days, 138 animals were brought in to the Humane Society (59 cats, 53 stray dogs, and 26 owner-surrendered dogs). However, in the same period only 35 animals were adopted; 15 cats and 20 dogs. Lucky Paws spays and neuters more than 100 animals per month, for pet owners without financial means (SNIP program) as well as for caretakers of community cats through the Cat Café — Trap-Neuter-Return-Maintain (TNRM) program.

Sharon Hupprich, Lucky Paws Foundation board member, stated “As a longtime volunteer of both organizations, I know that working together, we can and will make a sizable difference in lowering our island’s euthanasia rate.”

Humane Society Vice President Annette Zachman added, “When we partner the HSSTT services, including our very successful Pets With Wings program, with LPF’s spay/neuter programs and community cat solutions; we’re going to collectively bring a formidable attack to our animal homelessness crisis.”

The month of August will be the start of a new campaign, celebrating and coming together for International Homeless Animals’ Day. This event was created by the International Society for Animal Rights to relay the importance of spaying, neutering and showcasing the human-animal bond. By forming a strong alliance for this event, the Humane Society of St. Thomas and Lucky Paws Foundation are letting the community know that the senseless killing that takes place today will come to an end.

Both the Humane Society of St. Thomas and the Lucky Paws Foundation are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

For more information on the Humane Society, contact Rhea Vasconcellos at 340-775-0599 or visit www.hsstt.com. For more information on the Lucky Paws Foundation, contact Dellia Holodenschi at 340-513-1854 or visit www.luckypawssttvi.org.