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Wednesday December 7th

Pat Sanford Animal Welfare Award applications due Oct. 15, winner announced next month

Orange County Animal Services is pictured on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022.
Buy Photos Orange County Animal Services is pictured on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022.

Applications for the Pat Sanford Animal Welfare Award — a yearly grant that provides $500 to an organization that actively helps animals in the community — will close this Saturday, Oct. 15.

Pat Sanford, the award’s namesake and former executive director of the Animal Protection Society of Orange County, was an activist for humane animal euthanasia. After her retirement in 2002, she still remains one of the largest contributors to animal recovery, placement and well-being across the state.

Tenille Fox, the communications specialist at Orange County Animal Services, said the award is designed to help others carry on Sanford's work.

“This is offered to honor her because she was really just a huge proponent of helping to manage pet overpopulation in the county and do it humanely with spay and neuter programs,” Fox said.

She said it is important to look at how applicants plan to affect the wildlife community locally.

“The folks that are applying for this, they don't actually have to be in Orange County,” she said. “But their work has to go towards helping the county community or communities and I think that's one of the biggest things I look at is, 'How is this affecting our community, and how is it assisting animals and people in our community?'”

Our Wild Neighbors, an organization in Hillsborough, was last year's recipient.

Linda Ostrand, the director and founder of Our Wild Neighbors, said the organization's main goal is to heal and release local wildlife.

“We take in orphaned and injured animals that are ordinarily not treated by veterinarians since they're not domestic,” she said. “We do our best to either raise them to release or heal any injuries that they have in order to re-release.”

Ostrand also said the award was a huge help to continue their rehabilitation and sheltering of local animals.

She said the organization uses the money for medical supplies, food, basic utilities and cage building.

“So yeah, the Sanford Grant was huge,” Ostrand said.

Mary Dow, a director and board member for the Independent Animal Rescue, said her organization was very fortunate to receive the grant in 2017.

“It enabled us to obtain veterinary care for some particularly sick kittens who we were then able to find homes for,” she said in an email. “Just yesterday a Carrboro resident found a kitten begging at her window and we were able to offer to find a foster home for her.”

Dow said the IAR also does a lot of work to prevent overpopulation and breeding in the area through taking in, spaying, neutering and vaccinating unwanted or stray dogs and cats.

Kimberly Steiner is a web designer and creator who won the grant in 2019. She said she combined her love for animals and website creation to make a site for pet adoption.

"I've volunteered at shelters in the past and I really wanted to go back to a shelter and volunteer in person, I just didn't have the time,” Steiner said. “So I thought, you know, what is a skill that I have that I could use towards helping animals."

That skill was making a website for local pet adoptions. 

Steiner’s website creates profiles for each pet and connects them with new homes. So far, the site has re-homed about 25 percent of the pets put up for adoption.

“I wouldn't say we've re-homed a huge percentage,” Steiner said. “But I think 25 percent of pets over the past two years have benefited from this, so I'm happy with any number.”

This year's grant winner will be announced in November.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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