Gail MACKIE loves animals! by Joan Opyr photos by Nicole Hensley Gail Mackie has a mission. She is, like the organization she leads, SpokAnimal C.A.R.E., "dedicated to the placement, protection and health of animals through legislation, education and programs." Under Mackie's leadership, SpokAnimal has grown from a small, fledgling organization to one that is nationally recognized for its dynamic programs and bright and effective staff. M ackie is a native of the Inland Northwest, born and raised in Malott, Washington. The grandchild of Scottish homesteaders, Mackie's roots in this region run deep. She graduated from Eastern Washington University, left the region for a time, but returned to the area in 1984, the year Spokanimal C.A.R.E. was incorporated. Love of animals has been a constant in Mackie's life. She was only a third-grader when she brought home her first stray, a cat who gave her an unfortunate case of ringworm on top of her head. This set-back didn't deter her one bit, however. Mackie's passion is not simply for individual animals but for reforming a system and a culture in which animals are neglected, abused, and allowed (or even encouraged) to breed unchecked. Mackie writes, "My biggest disappointment has been regardless of the education we do, the sterilizations we perform, the licenses we sell, there continues to be an overpopulation of pets." This tragic situation has led Mackie and SpokAnimal to a very difficult decision. As of the 1st of January 2010, SpokAnimal has decided not to renew its animal control contract with the City of Spokane. This is a contract SpokAnimal has had since its opening in 1985. Instead, the organization has chosen to focus on accepting pets surrendered by owners, transferring pets from animal control, generating guaranteed placement for the pets in their care, and increasing the number of sterilizations performed in SpokAnimal's clinic. The organization will also increase its outreach, concentrating its efforts on placing animals for adoption. Mackie continued on page 22 | January 2009 | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition |