Creature Comfort: Saving lives in Cochise County

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona has been serving pets and the people who love them in the Tucson metro area for more than 77 years. Starting this month we are finally living into the last two words of our name as we extend our mission—both within and beyond Pima County.

We currently operate a full-service shelter, clinic and humane education facility at 635 W. Roger Road in Tucson. As of Saturday, July 17, we will be opening a long-anticipated Eastside branch at 1010 S. Wilmot (just north of 22nd Street) that will start up with an expanded thrift store (featuring deeply discounted Sam Levitz furniture!) and twice-weekly vaccination clinics and adoption events. In the next few years we will be offering full-time adoption, admissions, and veterinary services there—including a 24/7 low-cost pet emergency hospital.

And right now, we at HSSA are embarking on an exciting new collaboration with Cochise County government, the City of Douglas, the City of Bisbee, and the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine to save hundreds of pets’ lives every year.

Working with little funding and space, animal shelters in Cochise County have been struggling to save as many pets as they can in cramped, small spaces that are inadequate for the pets they serve. With a yearly intake of more than 1,000 animals, this lack of room and resources has forced some of these shelters to make heartbreaking choices. In Douglas alone, 30% of dogs and 70% of cats are euthanized annually.

We can save those lives. That’s why starting this July, HSSA is taking urgent action with your help. Working with a wide variety of engaged partners and committed volunteers, we will begin transporting an average of 10 animals per week—every week—from the Douglas shelter to our main campus in Tucson to save their lives, provide for their health and behavioral needs, and find them loving homes.

Simultaneously working with the UA College of Veterinary Medicine, we plan to provide weekly veterinary service to shelter and public pets in Douglas, including spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, wellness exams, and more, starting later this year. We are also looking to institute innovative OneHealth programs that improve the well-being of pets and their human families during the same office visit.

This broad-ranging coalition of partners is simultaneously seeking $2 million in funds to convert a former juvenile detention facility in Bisbee into a state-of-the-art full-service high-quality HSSA animal shelter and clinic which we hope to open to the public by early 2024 to serve all of southern Cochise County.

In all, this project has the potential to help 10,000 homeless pets in its first five years of operation.

This innovative collaboration for homeless and at-risk pets in Southern Arizona will become an inspiration for rural shelters and urban partners across the country, saving thousands and thousands of lives in the process.

If you would like to join us in making this lifesaving vision a reality, please visit today.