Local residents form group to aid animals
January 21, 2021
Some local citizens who are concerned about abused, neglected, abandoned, and stray animals formed the Wahkiakum Animal Advocates Group (WAAG) in 2019. The pandemic slowed their plans a bit, but they have continued to move forward, getting their 501c3 status, setting up a bank account, talking with local leaders via Zoom, and even performing a trap, neuter, and release operation for a feral cat colony in the Elochoman Valley in recent months.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in the last year,” WAAG President Rebecca Hompe said.
Hompe raised Morgan horses for three decades in Minnesota before retiring and moving to southwest Washington. She boarded and trained horses, taught riding, and more. She also worked closely with their local humane society on large animal cases, fostering animals, and serving on their board of directors.
It was while out and about in this community that she met like minded people who thought that they needed an organization to address local animal issues.
They held their first meeting in August of 2019. After completing several necessary steps, they’ve set up a five member board, with three people from Wahkiakum County serving, along with Hompe, who lives just outside the county line to the east, and another woman from outside the county who was willing to serve. There are other volunteers who choose to donate their time in other ways.
“It really seems to be growing and well received,” Hompe said. “There are definitely a lot more things on our to do list that we would like to accomplish.”
WAAG has set a large portion of their budget aside for a spay/neuter voucher to help people pay some of the costs associated with caring for their animals. They are hoping to do more trap, neuter, and releases of feral cats in the county, and they have established a relationship with a local food bank, Helping Hand, which is located at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, to provide food and pet supplies.
On January 30, they will hold a pet food drive at the Puget Island Fire Station from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Donations will go to the Helping Hand Food Bank.
They are hoping to purchase a microchip reader to locate pet owners faster, have some foster homes established for long term holds, educate people on the importance of spaying and neutering, and hold classes on general pet care, or teach obedience classes.
“And hopefully have some of those education opportunities, you know, face to face,” Hompe laughed, “with people in the community, once things open up.”
They will be focusing mainly on companion animals. If anyone has questions or concerns about a nuisance or dangerous dog, or that an animal is being neglected or abused, Hompe encourages them to call.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to come forward to talk about it,” she said.
A website is being developed, but for now, you can find them on their Facebook page, call them at 360-504-6336, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For anyone that would like to make a donation, they can send it to WAAG at PO Box 231, Cathlamet, WA 98612, or take it to the Bank of the Pacific. They are 100 percent volunteer, Hompe said, and all donations will go toward pet food, spay/neuter vouchers, and anything associated with trap, neuter, and release, as well as pay for minor office supplies.