By Cheryl Conway
Thanks to Common Sense for Animals, many more dogs and cats are living the dream with families to care for them.
Last year alone, Common Sense for Animals out of Stewartsville adopted and found homes for more than 1,300 animals.
Common Sense for Animals is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit no-kill shelter organization founded in 1990 by Dr. Robert R. Blease, a veterinarian for the past 52 years. The only shelter facility in Warren County, Blease’s property sits on 12 acres “and so does my home and animal hospital,” he says.
Twenty eight years ago Blease says he realized “I was alarmed at how people were looking at animals including food animals. They thought hamburger came from Styrofoam not cows, and were being led to dislike farmers. I wanted to educate people how animals fell into our lives. You love your dog but we eat animals. They are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity.”
According to its website: “Our goal is to bring together people who share certain common sense or fundamental principles regarding our heritage, and freedom of choice regarding food producing animals, companion pets, wildlife, research animals and the environment. We are not animal rightists. Instead Common Sense for Animals is committed to the entitlement of all animals to respect and dignity
throughout their entire lives. We work to improve every area of human/animal relationships through education and community service.”
As a service and educational organization, Common Sense for Animals provides care to animals by finding homes to adopt and foster animals such as dogs, puppies, cats, kittens as well as some reptiles like rabbits and even rats.
He says the majority of the animals he brings to the shelter come from the south.
According to statistics, he says three to five million animals get euthanized every year in this country.
“We are a private no kill shelter,” he explains on a mission to saving these animals from euthanization. “We work with animal control,” mainly in Warren County, taking in animals that are injured and homeless with the goal of returning a fair amount to their owners with the majority spayed and neutered.
“A lot of puppies used to be euthanized,” he says. “We have people begging us to take them from the south.”
Despite of all the services this non-profit organization provides, Blease says “We get no funding from the government. They don’t have programs for shelters especially those with no kill. We take animals in from animal control or up from the south. We find them a home unless they have a terminal disease or danger to the public.”
Currently at his shelter, Blease has 65 dogs and puppies, a lot requiring fostering because they are too young to adopt yet; 100 cats ready for adoption; some rabbits, ferrets and birds.
Blease says his shelter does not take in injured deer, fawn or wildlife but will send them to a licensed rehabber.
He says, “injured deer are very dangerous; I saw somebody killed by a deer.” As a man was about to kill an injured deer who was suffering, the deer flicked at the man’s feet and punctured his juggler vein.
In addition to service, Common Sense for Animals educates others about the dangers of handling wildlife, why to avoid certain situations and protect oneself from rabies.
He visits schools to talk to children “about true animal welfare and we bring groups in. A lot of people have the wrong idea on what is good for animals.”
He explains: “If you are a fisherman obey the laws; release what you catch if you don’t plan to eat it. With hunting, eat what you hunt; don’t be a trophy hunter. “Don’t mess if you see an injured piece of wildlife; don’t approach it; call someone who knows what they are doing. Don’t feed the bears; the problem bears are the ones people interact with. Nobody wants to shoot a bear, but they’ve gotten out of
control in neighborhoods.”
Keeping the environment clean is also important.
“What’s good for the wildlife is a clean environment and it’s also good for people,” such as air quality which can cause cancer; polluted beaches because of sewage; dumped soda cans which can cut an animal’s neck.
Common Sense For Animals also reaches out to veterans with animals, or anyone who cannot afford to feed their animal “We always try to help. We share the wealth with anyone who can’t feed animals. We offer to help a veteran acquire an animal; we have adoption fees so we offer reduced fees,” to veterans wanting an
animal for emotional support.
“When we tell them there’s no charge, they give a donation,” Blease says.
As a non-profit, Common Sense for Animals is always looking for financial donations and items. Current needs include canned cat food, cleaning supplies and towels.
“When you feed 100 cans a day that’s a lot of cat food in a month,” Blease says of its greatest need, in addition to more volunteers to help clean cat cages and walk the dogs.
“Walking the dogs is very important,” he says, “as it socializes them back into society.”
Fundraising events are held throughout the year to help bring in money. The next event is set for Sept. 23 with a 5K Run & Walk at Meadow Breeze Park in Washington; 9 a.m. to run; 11 a.m. to walk. Register at 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to run; 9a.m. to 11 a.m. to walk. Sign up at www.commonsenseforanimals.org/walk-run-for-animals. Food, entertainment and vendors will be on site.
“Everyone is welcome,” he says, including animals.
To donate go to https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/csadonations-saving-lives.
All donations are tax deductible.
For more information, go to www.commonsenseforanimals.org.