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Many Wood River Valley residents struggle to find affordable housing. Now it's impacting their pets, too.

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Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 10:09:17-04

HAILEY, Idaho — Housing issues in Blaine County may have some residents considering surrendering their pets so they can have easier access to affordable living.

A long-time housing crisis in Blaine County has come to a boiling point, and the Mountain Humane Animal shelter can see desperation coming from members of the public who are struggling to find housing for themselves, let alone housing that accepts pets.

Related: Housing crisis solutions under discussion in Blaine County

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“We want Mountain Humane to be the first option in Blaine County that comes to the resident's minds when they are faced with a housing crisis or a housing challenge,” said Mountain Humane Director of Operations Kelly Mitchell.

Many of the pet retention resources offered by Mountain Humane have prevented dozens of surrenders from offering basic needs to pet owners, temporary boarding for residents in a transition between homes to animal training, and medical services.

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“With the high cost of providing veterinary services for small animals, it’s a challenge for people that are now juggling a housing crisis as well as a medical issue with their pet,” Mitchell said.

While dealing with an ongoing increase in the number of people surrendering animals, Mountain Humane knows that an animal is never better off at the shelter. Therefore, they put their work and resources into helping others keep and care for their pets, rather than giving them up.

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“The focus and the future of sheltering really is pet retention,” said Mitchell. “Helping people keep that companionship and keep their pets right where they belong which is with their owners. “

The need for a safe haven for animals will likely always be needed, but instead of a place for unwanted animals to live, animal shelters can be a place for pet owners to learn and get the help they need to retain their animals.

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“That is where our funding goes,” Mitchell said. “That is what our focus is and so if people can embrace that, it certainly makes our job easier.

For more information regarding the resources, the Mountain Humane Animals Shelter has click here.