Shelter Friends, Dr. Cross win Raskin Awards

As she stood in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass to announce the winners at the June 5 Board of Josephine County Commissioners’ weekly business session, JoCo Animal Shelter Supervisor Laura Jensen explained, “The Raskin Award was set up in memory of the late Carl Raskin. He was a founding member of the Josephine County Spay and Neuter Fund and helped countless animals in Josephine County through his outreach, voucher program for spay and neuter and animal welfare advocacy. So to honor his legacy, the Raskin Award is presented each year for folks who are carrying on the animal welfare work in Josephine County to benefit our animals.”
Jensen then read the nominating statement for Shelter Friends: “The Shelter Friends group has continually supported our county animal shelter and has played a vital role in reducing euthanasia through adoption sponsorships, transport of animals to other adoption organizations, foster program, hosting off site adoption events, and holding rabies vaccination and microchip clinics for an affordable price. They are a wonderful group that have deserved our recognition for their efforts on behalf of the animals of Josephine County.”

As for outstanding individual, “Dr. Rebecca Hall Cross has been a pillar in the animal community of Josephine County for several years. Not only does she help thousands of pets with her work at Pacific Vet Clinic, but her work with the Homeless Oregon Pet Project and Josephine County Animal Shelter Pets has impacted so many more. She is kind, patient, knowledgeable, and works tirelessly for the welfare of animals in our community.”
According to the Shelter Friends website – savethewhiskers.org – the organization’s impact has included the following: “We care for shelter animals and help them find their forever homes. Shelter Friends, in partnership with Josephine County Animal Shelter, has turned the shelter into a model of success. In the past five years, euthanasia has dropped significantly and there is now a 95% live release rate which provides the shelter with a ‘no kill shelter’ status. This includes adoptions, fostering, reuniting the animals with their owners, or transferring them to other shelters for adoption.”

Statistics the group updates on a monthly basis yield that so far in 2024, they have facilitated 132 pets being returned to their owners, gotten 302 pets adopted, and fostered 34 kittens. In addition, over the past five years, Shelter Friends claims a 33% increase in pet intake overall, with a 43% dog intake increase and 20% increase in cat intake. Of these 2,600 intakes over five years, 1,269 have been cats, 1,226 have been dogs and 105 have been other animals.

Following the awards presentation, the commissioners moved on to Ordinance 2024-015 – adding Chapter 3.30 to the Josephine County Code regarding the Fairgrounds Permanent Fund.

County legal counsel Wally Hicks offered this brief explanation regarding the ordinance, which had its first reading May 22:

“This is the second and final reading of Ordinance 2024-015 which establishes the Fairgrounds Permanent Fund. Permanent Fund is considered to be exactly that – permanent – and that’s being codified here or proposed for codification should it pass today.

“The fund is being established to be the place where $9 million worth of the sale proceeds from the property known as Flying Lark would go. Per terms of the ordinance, the amount of the fund would not drop below $9 million with one exception in that loans one at a time may be made so long as they are paid back and the permanent fund value again returns to at least $9 million dollars. The fund is going to be an interest-bearing fund. And it is envisioned that the interest received on the basis of $9 million could be used for services that are exclusively fairgrounds-oriented also, which is contained within the fund.”