New animal fund opens

A new resource for needy Yukon pets will open this summer. Jordi Mikeli-Jones, owner of Triple J's Music in Whitehorse, launched Kona's Animal Assistance Coalition this week.

A new resource for needy Yukon pets will open this summer.

Jordi Mikeli-Jones, owner of Triple J’s Music in Whitehorse, launched Kona’s Animal Assistance Coalition this week. The not-for-profit society will provide money to owners, whom Mikeli-Jones calls pet “parents,” to help cover the costs of veterinarian bills beyond routine expenses of spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, food and routine veterinarian care.

This way, pets can stay with their owners and not be sent to the city pound or placed in the Humane Society Yukon’s Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.

“I feel it will have a long-lasting benefit,” she said.

People can apply for money from the organization beginning on July 1.

The application process will be fairly simple, and the organization will be available for anyone in the territory, said Mikeli-Jones. Since there will be no operating expenses, all money people donate will go directly to caring for needy animals, she said. She plans on donating most of the proceeds from her annual Sunstroke Music Festival in June to the fund. In the future, she hopes to provide more education about pets and start a foster care network where pets can stay until they find “forever homes,” she said.

Mikeli-Jones has been working on the idea for about a year, she said this week. But she’s seen the need for a program like this for a long time. Mikeli-Jones has been involved with the Humane Society Yukon for several years, and was the society’s president from August 2010 to July 2011.

Sometimes, people would come to drop off their pets at the Tlingit Street shelter, but she would have to turn the animals away because they were sick. Animals were “needlessly suffering” but she couldn’t help them, she said. The shelter had a fund to pay for animals’ medical expenses, but it was only for those already in the shelter. And because the society is in so much debt, that fund is now empty, she said.

But Mikeli-Jones does not see her organization as competing with the humane society, she said. The society will be able to refer individuals to her fund, and apply to it for money, she said. This means the cash-strapped society will need to care for fewer animals. “I feel it will have a long-lasting, tangible benefit,” she said. She also plans to set up partnerships with the city pound, First Nation governments, and all Whitehorse veterinarian clinics, she said.

Mikeli-Jones was nominated to be the society’s president at its court-ordered annual general meeting in December. Seann Springford was elected, but resigned late last month. Vice-president Hoby Irwin has stepped into the position.

Mikeli-Jones will continue to help the society in whatever way she can, but she has no plans to become president. After so many years volunteering with the society, she “wanted a fresh start,” she said.

But she has recruited former humane society volunteers to help her. Madeleine Girard, a former society vice-president, and Meghan Lanthier, who was an administrative assistant at the shelter, have joined with Mikeli-Jones. Jienna Earl, owner of Complete Party Rentals, and Loreanne Brisson-Fortin who recently moved to the Yukon from Ottawa, are also involved.

Mikeli-Jones wants to work with people who care about animals and had experience volunteering with them, she said. “I’m never going to stop advocating for animals,” she said.

People can get more information about the coalition at Triple J’s Music, at 308 Elliott Street in Whitehorse, or on Facebook.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

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