Animal Protective League – An Animal is for Life

Little furry companions, from adorable puppies to fluffy bunny rabbits and cuddly kittens, are popular gifts to give during the holiday season.  While the intention is always good, sometimes the end result is an abandoned animal that ends up in a shelter - or even worse.  Because of this, organizations like the Animal Protective League and its volunteers devote their time to finding safe, responsible homes for their animals in the hopes of ending the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets.

Deana Corbin, 45-year-old Executive Director, wife, and mother, discussed the Animal Protective League with eighteen21.com to share how it helps abandoned pets, and the community, through its various programs.

Could you give us a brief explanation of what APL is and what your mission is?
The Animal Protective League is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.  Our limited admission shelter gives priority to sick, injured and abused homeless animals and coordinates the adoption of those animals by responsible pet owners. Our spay/neuter clinic provides high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter services to the public and to animal welfare organizations within a 90-mile radius of Springfield.

What services do you provide?
Pet Adoptions
The Animal Protective league finds home for about 2,000 animals every year.  The animals are microchipped, have been spayed or neutered and are up to date on their vaccinations.  APL hosts regular offsite adoptions at various locations.  Our mobile adoption unit accommodates 25 animals for viewing and adoption at other locations and events.

Spay/Neuter
Our licensed veterinarians perform over 14,000 spay/neuter surgeries every year.  Since opening in 2006 the number of animals euthanized in Sangamon County has dropped by 68%. 

Vaccine Clinics

APL offers monthly low-cost vaccine wellness clinics to assist people who otherwise could not afford to get their pets vaccinated and keep them healthy.  

Pet Therapy
Our volunteers visit local nursing homes and take gentle dogs and cats to visit the residents.  This is a great service to the residents, many of whom come out of their rooms just to see the animals.  It also helps our animals to get more human interaction and see a different environment outside of the shelter.

Paws to Read
Volunteers take our dogs into local schools where children can read to them.  This program is a great way to improve the children’s reading skills, and it also gives dogs much-needed socialization and helps them learn how to sit quietly.

Food Bank
APL operates a pet food bank that distributes over 10 tons of food each year to needy citizens in our community.  Generous supporters and businesses donate all food.

Why should people consider adopting over purchasing a pet?
The biggest reason to consider adopting a pet over buying one is that you will be helping to save lives.  Each year 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States simply because there are not enough homes for them.  When you adopt a loving animal by making them part of your family, you also open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it. 

What would you say to those looking to adding an animal to their household?
Adopting is a big responsibility and should be for the life of the animal.  Potential owners should make sure that they have the time to care for their pet and the money needed to get them regular veterinary care along with their daily needs of food and shelter.  

What can we do as a community to help animals that are in need or abandoned?
There are many great ways to help needy pets in your community.  You can start by volunteering at your local animal shelter. There are many things to help out with from walking dogs and socializing cats and taking photographs to helping clean cages or working at events.  You could also be a foster parent. Fostering allows a pet to get comfortable living in a home and gives them time to learn pet etiquette. This makes them more adoptable and less like to be returned.  Fosters are used for young animals so they can grow up in a home environment, for elderly animals that would be stressed out in a shelter environment, and for animals that are healing from surgery or injury.  You can also help by holding fundraising events or food and supply drives. 

How can people give back to the APL?
People can give back to APL in several ways.  APL is funded primarily through individual donations and receives no government money. Therefore monetary donations are always welcome and needed to help take care of the sick and injured animals in our care.  Right now you can Start With a Smile at smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7095476 for your holiday gifts and Amazon donates to Animal Protective League of Springfield and Sangamon County.  
You can also give back by donating your time to APL.  We have a variety of volunteer opportunities available from working directly with animals to writing thank you notes and helping out at events and offsite adoptions.  There really is something for everyone. If you are interested in becoming more involved and would like to volunteer, please email our volunteer coordinator for available orientation dates at volunteer@apl-shelter.org.

Finally, you can give back by donating items to APL.  We are always happy to accept dry dog and cat food donations and new or gently used dog and cat toys.  We also accept household items such as towels and washcloths that have no holes in them, sheets and pillowcases, and used pet carriers or wire cages.  We also accept cleaning supplies and office supplies such as Comet, bleach and copy paper.  

Are there any events that you are hosting?
In December we are hosting our Giving Trees across Springfield. These trees are placed in offices or businesses and have ornaments on them that people can choose. Each ornament has a photo of a dog or cat on the front and an item on the back that the shelter needs. These are everyday items, like copy paper, bleach, paper towels, etc.  We hope to get a year’s worth of these supplies so that we can then focus the money we have on the animals that need our care. 

In February we hold our Have a Heart for Animals Fundraiser.  Local businesses across Springfield will be selling small pink hearts for $1 and large red hearts for $5.  Donors can sign their names on the hearts or put their animal’s names on the hearts and businesses will display them for the entire month. It’s a great way to raise awareness of needy animals and showcase how much we all love the animals we have.

For more information please contact the APL at:
Animal Protective League
1001 Taintor Road
Springfield, IL  62702
217-544-PETS (7387)
www.facebook.com/AnimalProtectiveLeague   

Photo credit: Animal Protective League & Blue Daisy Art Photography