Stray animals issue in Pullman, shelter says

Pet ownership may not fit students’ lifestyles, shelter says


dara eman | evergreen photo illustration

When it comes to pets, many students choose love over logic, one shelter representative says. She suggests weighing costs and responsibilities before adopting.

JONATHAN VILLANUEVA, Evergreen reporter

Though having a pet in college may be helpful for emotional well-being, many students are not aware of the costs and responsibilities that come with them, according to the Humane Society of the Palouse.

Local shelters and veterinary hospitals see many stray pets around Pullman, said Tara Waimer, executive director of the Humane Society, and it is becoming a big issue.

“I’ve witnessed this over the years,” she said. “Once we see that animal, we fall in love and logic is gone.”

A report from the Humane Society states that more cats spend an extended amount of time in the shelter than dogs. It states that of the cats the shelter brings in, just 1 percent are returned to their owners.

She said many people who are getting a pet are not aware of differences between an emotional support animal and a service animal.

“[Service animals] have undergone a lot of training,” she said. “It starts at the moment when they were born.”

Waimer said some pet owners use the state’s emotional support system to try to get an emotional support animal in living spaces that typically do not permit animals.

Katelyn Frost, a resident adviser at Global Scholars, said in residence halls, emotional support animals are allowed for those who have a disability that the animal may help with.

“If you are looking to get an emotional support animal,” she said, “it is usually recommended by a doctor.”

She said that as a staff, resident advisers meet and talk about who has an emotional support animal and a service animal.

“But if someone needs an emotional support animal,” she said, “then residence life doesn’t have a problem with that.”