HSUS South Dakota State Director Darci Adams
A Proponent for Humane Education & Community Action on South Dakota Reservations

July 10, 2012

Darci Adams (credit: Jodi Tjeerdsma)
The HSUS South Dakota State Director, Darci Adams, with her foster dog, Mato
Jodi Tjeerdsma

Darci Adams works daily to improve the lives of animals as the South Dakota State Director for The Humane Society of the United States. Her regular job duties include promoting animal welfare legislation, fighting animal cruelty, helping animals during man-made and natural disasters, and engaging like-minded citizens in the animal protection movement. But each summer Adams also spends several weeks in the field with the HSVMA-RAVS team participating in veterinary outreach clinics on several South Dakota Indian reservations.

“With nine reservations in South Dakota, participating in these week long clinics is an extremely important part of our work here” says Adams. “HSVMA-RAVS has provided free pet wellness and spay/neuter services here for many years; my goal is to expand on their great work and offer additional resources.” Being a South Dakota native, Adams knows firsthand the need for pet wellness services on the Lower Brule, Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge Reservations. “Access to veterinary care for many families on these reservations is limited not only by economics, but also by geography,” says Adams. “The closest veterinary clinic to most communities RAVS serves is 30-70 miles away.”

Darci takes names of community members on line
Adams takes the names of community members who are lined up for wellness and spay/neuter veterinary services at an HSVMA-RAVS clinic on the Cheyenne River Reservation.
Darci Adams/The HSUS

As the RAVS Intake Coordinator on these trips, Adams is the first team member that clients interact with in order to receive free wellness and spay/neuter services for their dogs and cats. Since the veterinary care is provided on a first come, first serve basis, community members often line up with their animals starting at daybreak, so one can only imagine that Adams and her clipboard is a welcome site to tired eyes and anxious pets. In addition to informing clients about the services that their pets will receive at the RAVS clinic, Adams and her intake team also educate clients about caring for their pets. They talk with clients about effective ways to treat mange, fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites, and discuss nutrition, shelter and socialization.

In her role as The HSUS South Dakota State Director, Adams works year-round with tribal government officials, animal care personnel and non-profit organizations helping animals on the reservations. At the request of these sovereign nations, Adams provides resources and support for humane treatment of animals, ordinances and even engaged The HSUS Shelter Services department in providing vaccination and shelter protocols. Adams’ ultimate goal is to redefine the standards for animal care on the South Dakota reservations through humane education and community action through The HSUS’ Pets for Life toolkit. The Pets for Life program builds humane communities using innovative strategies and fresh approaches designed to extend the reach of animal services, resources, and information to under-served areas.

CRST team
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe team in Eagle Butte (from left to right): Darci Adams; CRST Tribal Health Director, Randolph Runs After; CRST Shelter Manager, Ethel Morgan; Animal Control Officer, Ted Maupin, HSVMA-RAVS veterinarian, Dr. Elizabeth Berliner; and Animal Control Officer, Garland Maupin Jr.
Darci Adams/The HSUS

Adams says the RAVS program is a key component in this effort. It enhances humane education and provides her communities with free pet wellness and spay/neuter services, a critical element of a humane community. HSVMA-RAVS Director, Windi Wojdak says staff members look forward to seeing Darci each year because she is hard-working, passionate and understands the animal care needs of these communities. “Darci’s relationship with RAVS is mutually beneficial,” says Wojdak. “Having a trusted advocate as Intake Coordinator for the program increases the level of confidence that the community has in our services, and allows us to provide the veterinary services these communities desperately need.” Adams says the rapport established by RAVS has helped her develop trust-based relationships in the animal care communities. It is those relationships that will foster long-term positive change for the animals that live on the South Dakota reservations.

While on the road with RAVS this year, Adams blogged about the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge clinics and posted photos of the days’ events. Read them here»