Santa Claus poses with pets at West Richland nonprofit

Santa Claus poses with pets at West Richland nonprofit

WEST RICHLAND, Wash. — Father Christmas made the trip from the North Pole to support a fund-raiser for Pet Over Population Prevention (POPP) on Sunday.

For $20 he posed for pictures with pooches and the people who love them.

He said all pets are welcome, though mostly dogs visited this time.

The Jolly Old Elf told Action News he's glad to help animal-lovers from all over the Tri-Cities get an early start on their holiday cards,

"The people involved with the POPP are really good people, and they're here because of their love for animals. Everybody involved in POPP is here because of animals."

Old St. Nick admitted he's partial to reindeer, but said he enjoys meeting pets of all shapes and sizes. He's worked at the POPP fund-raiser for a few years now,

"Last year we had a chicken, and we have cats and we have dogs. I love animals."

And his love of animals is why Claus said he volunteers his time.

POPP Executive Director Ellen McBriarty said the non-profit is run by volunteers just like Mr. Claus,

"Our goal is to reduce suffering for animals in our community. And the main way we do that is by offering access to low-cost spay and neuter surgeries."

It turns out volunteers keep their prices low.

She said it costs them $25 to neuter a male cat,

"So basically for the cost of a Santa photo, we can neuter a cat."

McBriarty said the no-kill rescue also accepts surrenders.

Santa said he thinks too many animals are taken to Finley and set loose when pet-parents are at the end of their leash.

He said those scenarios don't have happy endings, and that's why he thinks POPP is so important,

"It gives them an alternative. Instead of doing the the wrong thing, they can do the right thing."

And that will keep pet owners on his 'Nice List'.

Santa Claus told Action News he'll return for more photos on Sunday, Dec. 10.

Complete details can be found on the Pet Over Population Prevention (POPP) Facebook page.

  • When: Sunday, Dec. 10 at 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM.
  • Where: 5811 W. Van Giesen St., West Richland, Washington 99353
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