Five local residents have been invited to Missoula to receive a prestigious award for their work to improve animal welfare.
Bobbi Jo Favel, Chief Chris Wolf and Tim “Junior” Rosette Jr. of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation and Haven Animal Control Officer Pete Federspiel and his wife, Kim, of Friends of the Shelter for animals in Le Havre, are receiving the 2022 Ken Shugart Humanitarian Award from the Humane Society of Western Montana, the society said in a press release.
The collective work of the recipients inspired the society to award a five-person group award for the first time, according to the release. Ken Shughart Jr. was a “wizard mechanic, a mainstay of Missoula softball and a friend of neglected animals,” he added. “When he died in 1997, he was chairman of the board of the Missoula Humane Society, where he had been a driving force for 13 years.”
The Humane Society statement said this year’s award would honor the group’s commitment to improving animal welfare, especially animals living on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. This is the first year that the society will honor the exceptional collaboration of five people who have changed the lives of hundreds of animals over the course of a year.
The awards will be presented to them at the society’s 24th annual celebration at the Wilma Theater in Missoula on Saturday, April 16 beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Haven Animal Shelter and Humane Society of Western Montana launched a transfer program four years ago that flourished, the statement said, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This halted the program due to fears the animals could spread COVID-19.
The pandemic has also caused financial problems and created an urgent need for pet food. With the help of Summit Beverage, the Humane Society of Western Montana began providing food to food banks and shelters across the state, and Pete and Kim Federspiel helped deliver food to this area.
Favel, director of the Chippewa Cree Department of Natural Resources, helped deliver pet food to the locked reserve.
With that help, Rosette, the environmental coordinator at Rocky Boy Health Center and a strong advocate for neutering and neutering, the statement said, met another major need on the reservation: pet care. accessible.
“We knew our award winners Pete and Kim Federspiel … were already working on Rocky Boy, and we asked them if they thought our veterinary support services would be helpful,” said Marta Pierpoint, executive director of the Humane Society of Western Montana. “Fortunately, our winners were excited about this potential partnership.”
Tribal Fish and Game Warden Wolf Chief said veterinary services would be important to pet owners, according to the statement.
“We didn’t know anything about (Humane Society of Western Montana), but we knew we needed help with the pet population,” he said. “In the end, we decided to give it a try.”
In April 2021, staff from the Haven Animal Shelter and Humane Society arrived at Rocky Boy’s volunteer fire station and turned it into a makeshift veterinary clinic.
The fire station is centrally located on the reserve, but some families still struggle to make appointments.
“Pete and I know a lot of Rocky Boy families, so we spread the word, set up appointments, and drove to people’s homes to pick up animals if they needed extra help,” said Kim Federspiel.
Those three days were just the beginning, according to the statement. The team continued to hold monthly clinics at the station.
“We held clinics until the snow fell, and the weather made it difficult for (the Humane Society of Western Montanas Mobile Hospital to cross Roger’s Pass,” Rosette said. “Even with seasonal constraints , the team was able to serve 299 pets from a total of 162 different families.”
“Ultimately, without our awardees, we could not provide the care these animals and families need,” said Pierpoint. “All recipients are fundamentally dedicated to companion animals and their community, that’s what it takes to make a difference.”
The success of this collaborative pilot program paved the way for expansion – HSWM now serves the Blackfeet and Confederate Salish Kootenai tribes as well as rural shelters in need of medical support. More than 2,100 pets received care at low-cost Missoula clinics and outreach programs in 2021.
Humane Society supporters in attendance will have the chance to see this work first hand through the short film “On the Road: Pets, People and Community”.
“We haven’t seen many of our supporters since the start of the pandemic and they are unfamiliar with the expansion of our programs. We are excited to share how we have grown and hope to raise funds to continue this important work. with our friends on Rocky Boy and beyond,” Pierpoint said.
Event information, auction item previews and ticketing options are available at bidpal.net/hswm2022.
“Receiving this award makes me happy. The hard work we put in is paying off,” said Wolf Chief. “I hope this is the start of an even better future for the animals and animal owners on the reserve. One day I would like to see an animal control division, and maybe a shelter and full-time veterinary services on Rocky Boy.”