A partnership dedicated to four-legged friends began its statewide outreach this week in Enid.

Common Bonds Oklahoma is a partnership of organizations, agencies and individuals committed to the important goal of reducing the number of dogs and cats euthanized in our state’s animal shelters. This meaningful work is inspired by the power of the human-animal bond and the positive community impact of animal wellbeing.

The organization’s collective impact approach includes community leadership, shelter engagement and best practices, responsible pet ownership and power through sharing knowledge.

Kelly Burley, director of Common Bonds Oklahoma, said his group received initial, backbone support from Kirkpatrick Foundation. Common Bonds works with individuals and diverse organizations committed to animal well-being to develop strategies to ensure humane outcomes for shelter animals. That’s an important mission.

Burley’s group, which has partners in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas, is trying to identify needs of shelters struggling with resources and helping connect them with potential solutions. A working group is devoted to community development and engagement.

The Common Bonds Road Tour kicked off Feb. 11 with Burley, Vickie Grantz, executive director of Enid SPCA, Enid native Louisa McCune, executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, and a performance by the iconic Red Dirt Rangers band at Enid Brewing Co.

“Why do we do this work?” McCune asked the crowd Feb. 11. “Well, it’s about community health and community well-being. And so the animals are the canary in the coal mine. And my mantra every day is, ‘Where animals fare well, people fare well. And where the animals are not doing well, neither are the people.’”

Enid was chosen in part because of the strong presence of Enid SPCA. Grantz is passionate and vested in making life better for animals.

Allen Elder, supervisor of Enid Animal Control, and his staff brought our community from a 14 percent save rate 10 years ago to 85 percent in 2019. We commend their hard work and commitment to this cause.

Commons Bonds Oklahoma aims to have the save rate for cats and dogs in Oklahoma animal shelters at 90% or greater by 2025.

We hope the outreach that began in Enid will build momentum to improve the quality of animals for animals throughout Oklahoma. This should increase the save rate by lowering the intake number and getting dogs and cats out of the door alive.

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