By Terri Harber
Board members of Best Friends of Baker Inc., a pet rescue group, met Thursday evening and decided they would have to temporarily cease finding homes for dogs and cats.
The nonprofit corporation doesn't have enough volunteers for this activity, according to officials with the group.
Kelly Tanzey, president of Best Friends, described it as "a temporary break."
Members should receive letters of explanation soon. So will area government officials and others with whom the group associates.
"We intend to try to reactivate in the future and continue the good work we've done in the past," said Milo Pope, one of the board members.
Garnering enough interest from people who'd like to volunteer could help Best Friends resume fulfilling its primary mission sooner rather than later.
The board intends to meet again in February. They didn't cite a date when the group would start accepting animals once again.
Efforts to find permanent owners for pets already with foster care providers will continue, Tanzey said.
Tammy Bloom, also a board member, said the group has 13 cats and eight dogs remaining for adoption.
Once these animals are placed with owners the group won't find temporary or permanent homes for any others until they have enough volunteers to conduct all tasks.
Best Friends is keeping its office at Basche-Sage Place on Main Street.
The telephone number will be disconnected soon, however.
The group has some funds but not enough to operate indefinitely. Cutting costs will be important to ensure the long-term existence of the organization.
Donations still are welcome. Membership dues will be sought because the corporation only has a limited amount of money to cover expenses, Tanzey said.
It also has supplies available to people providing the pets with foster care and, possibly, for people struggling financially to care for a pet.
A recent donation from local youth provided the group with 3,000 pounds of dog food and a great deal of that remains.
"We promote respect, dignity, humane treatment, and responsible population control through education and spaying and neutering, medical needs, shelter, foster care and thoughtful placement and adoption of all the animals," Best Friends' website states.
This isn't the first time Best Friends has taken a hiatus. Too few volunteers was the reason cited in the mid-1990s for the organization deactivating.
Best Friends renewed its pet placements efforts in 2005. It had found homes for about 900 dogs and cats by the end of 2009.
The group was established in 1988.
Pet owners who want to give away their animals can open accounts with Petfinder.com and place online ads.
The Baker City Herald also offers free pet advertising in its classified section.
Contact area veterinarians to find out if they'll take unwanted pets. There might be a fee, however.
People who see dogs running loose are encouraged to call dispatch for area law enforcement at 541-523-3644.
What Best Friends doesn't want to see is dogs and cats euthanized or simply let loose, Tanzey said.
The group picked up pets after law enforcement responded to reports of loose animals, said Baker City Police Sgt. Kirk McCormick.
It would place the pets with foster caregivers to keep them from being euthanized.
Veterinary space to hold dogs and cats is minimal.
Baker City also could end up paying for the euthanizations, McCormick said.
New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals plans to construct a shelter but the project won't be completed for years, Tanzey said.
People interested in volunteering for Best Friends or seeking to adopt one of the group's pets can visit www.bestfriendsofbaker.org
Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 183, Baker City, OR 97814.