SHELTER OF THE MONTH
OHLONE HUMANE SOCIETY
Despite this, a core group of volunteers recognized that a building wouldn’t resolve the existing animal problems in the surrounding areas, a humane organization was needed. With that vision moving the group forward, they reincorporated as Ohlone Humane Society and President, Nancy Lyon, has been involved since these early beginnings.
Their accomplishments in just three decades are astounding. Annually, Ohlone helps hundreds of companion animals and wildlife, including endangered and threatened species. They operate as a rescue liaison with Fremont’s municipal animal shelter, maintain a productive spay/neuter program, financially assist with veterinary emergencies, and provide humane education for local school children. After refurbishing an old, vacant animal shelter, Ohlone opened its Wildlife Rehab Center in the 1990’s. Last year, they helped more than 600 wildlings, from endangered species to crows.
Legislatively, Ohlone tackles a variety of animal issues. Recently, OHS addressed the use of gestation crates with the California State Fair Board and helped finance newspaper ads in the Sacramento Bee and other publications on this issue. Other significant accomplishments include advocating at the local and state levels for the protection and humane treatment of animals, reaching out with care and support for area senior citizens and others with their Hug-A-Pet animal assisted therapy and Pet-Meals-On-Wheels for companion animals, and supporting the Tri-City Animal Shelter in a myriad of ways.
Nancy lives and breathes the organization’s mission: "...to inspire respect and compassion for all animals, advocate for their interests and welfare, and instill in our community that all living beings have a right to be treated humanely." Under her leadership, the organization adheres to the policy of “not benefiting some animals by profiting from the suffering of others” -- which has translated into keeping animal friendly menus at their functions for nearly 30 years!
“This includes any offerings at the yearly Open House at our Wildlife Rehab Center in Newark and internal gatherings. The more we learned of the suffering of farmed and other animals, the clearer it became that to be ethical in our mission, we must not only advocate for the welfare of all animals but teach by example. We purchase in bulk copies of ‘Of This Ye May Freely Eat,’ a plant-based, basic cookbook, that we offer free of charge at all events,” remarked Nancy.
Ohlone’s animal friendly policy doesn’t just extend to food, but materials, too! For their annual “Santa Paws Arts & Crafts Show” the organization ensures that no vendor uses animal materials (feathers, wool, leather) in their crafts. As for food, attendees enjoy Chili Sans Carne, salads of all kinds, falafels, and veggie hot dogs!
Upon reflecting why it’s so important to have an animal friendly menu policy, Nancy had this to say:
“Caring about the welfare of animals shouldn't end with companion animals. We simply can’t ignore the incredible suffering that farmed animals endure. I see it as a journey, that once you understand the terrible cost to them, hopefully true animal lovers will choose a more compassionate path.”
To learn more about Ohlone and to support their important work, please visit them online.