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Crisis at the Animal Shelter

With job losses forcing many people to give up their pets and “kitten season” kicking into full gear, there can be only one outcome – a crisis at Pulaski County Animal Shelter.
The importance of spaying and neutering becomes increasingly evident every spring as dozens of homeless kittens are dropped off at the shelter, which also houses Pulaski County Humane Society (PCHS). However, just one day this past week should be enough to drive home the message to anyone.
PCHS Executive Director Rebecca English said the shelter took in 34 relinquished pets Monday, with 23 (15 cats and 8 dogs) coming from one family alone.
“When you only have 34 dog cages, that’s pretty bad,” English said, noting that the one-day total accounted for about half of the available cage space for cats and dogs at the facility.
Not only does that mean there are 34 more animals that need homes, English said it also meant euthanasia for some adoptable animals that had been waiting for a home.
“The sad part is that if the original pets of the owner were spayed or neutered, then there would have been only a few animals given up,” she said.
Of the 34 animals taken in Monday, English said none were kittens. However, “nearly all the females (cats) were pregnant.”
Regardless how full the shelter may be, she stressed that county residents should not hesitate to bring their animals to the shelter if they cannot care for them any longer.
She said she understands situations, such as job losses or deaths, arise that render pet owners unable to properly care for their animals any longer. In that case, she said, relinquishing the animals to someone who can provide care is the proper thing to do.
The 23 pets relinquished Monday were the result of a job loss preventing the family from being able to feed that many pets.
What English found frustrating about the case was the fact that it would have been cheaper to have the first few pets altered than it was to have to feed 23 animals.
“The whole problem with this case was that (the pets) were recklessly allowed to interbreed,” she said. “If they had spayed and neutered the first few, they wouldn’t have had to (turn over) 23 animals.”
It is evident from the animals’ ages that it didn’t take long for a few pets to grow into a crowd. English said all of the animals were one to two years of age.
English points out cats are a particular problem because there is “very little down time for a female cat.” She said a female cat continuously cycles into heat until she gets pregnant and that mating stimulates the cat to release eggs “on demand, nearly guaranteeing she’ll get pregnant each and every time.”
A mother cat can also get pregnant again while still nursing kittens, she added.
Luckily, some of the family’s cats, mostly Siamese, are being taken in by a Siamese cat rescue group, but there are others for which the shelter and PCHS will have to seek homes.
English said many people aren’t aware a Pulaski County ordinance limits one household from having more than five dogs and 10 cats. Of that number, she said, no more than two of the cats can be unaltered. She said she finds that portion of the ordinance a little strange since two cats is all it takes to result in dozens.
Nonetheless, PCHS offers free spaying and neutering for qualified owners who are low income, indigent or are having a feral (wild) cat altered.
PCHS also is always in search of “responsible” pet owners who can afford to care for the animals and are willing to bring the animals into their home. She said they prefer indoor homes since most people live near roads that pose a danger for the animals.
They also are in need of people who can provide foster homes, and sometimes bottle feeding, for the overflow of animals coming into the shelter. Most fostered animals are in a home for about three weeks before being transferred to a permanent home or rescue group.
Anyone interested in adopting or fostering an animal, finding out if they qualify for free spaying or neutering services, or simply wishing to donate time or supplies to PCHS should call 674-0089 or e-mail pchasva@gmail.com.
But most importantly, English said, “no one should get a pet unless they can afford to have it spayed or neutered. We can’t find enough homes for the (animals) we have now.”

Crisis at the Animal Shelter

With job losses forcing many people to give up their pets and “kitten season” kicking into full gear, there can be only one outcome – a crisis at Pulaski County Animal Shelter.
The importance of spaying and neutering becomes increasingly evident every spring as dozens of homeless kittens are dropped off at the shelter, which also houses Pulaski County Humane Society (PCHS). However, just one day this past week should be enough to drive home the message to anyone.
PCHS Executive Director Rebecca English said the shelter took in 34 relinquished pets Monday, with 23 (15 cats and 8 dogs) coming from one family alone.
“When you only have 34 dog cages, that’s pretty bad,” English said, noting that the one-day total accounted for about half of the available cage space for cats and dogs at the facility.
Not only does that mean there are 34 more animals that need homes, English said it also meant euthanasia for some adoptable animals that had been waiting for a home.
“The sad part is that if the original pets of the owner were spayed or neutered, then there would have been only a few animals given up,” she said.
Of the 34 animals taken in Monday, English said none were kittens. However, “nearly all the females (cats) were pregnant.”
Regardless how full the shelter may be, she stressed that county residents should not hesitate to bring their animals to the shelter if they cannot care for them any longer.
She said she understands situations, such as job losses or deaths, arise that render pet owners unable to properly care for their animals any longer. In that case, she said, relinquishing the animals to someone who can provide care is the proper thing to do.
The 23 pets relinquished Monday were the result of a job loss preventing the family from being able to feed that many pets.
What English found frustrating about the case was the fact that it would have been cheaper to have the first few pets altered than it was to have to feed 23 animals.
“The whole problem with this case was that (the pets) were recklessly allowed to interbreed,” she said. “If they had spayed and neutered the first few, they wouldn’t have had to (turn over) 23 animals.”
It is evident from the animals’ ages that it didn’t take long for a few pets to grow into a crowd. English said all of the animals were one to two years of age.
English points out cats are a particular problem because there is “very little down time for a female cat.” She said a female cat continuously cycles into heat until she gets pregnant and that mating stimulates the cat to release eggs “on demand, nearly guaranteeing she’ll get pregnant each and every time.”
A mother cat can also get pregnant again while still nursing kittens, she added.
Luckily, some of the family’s cats, mostly Siamese, are being taken in by a Siamese cat rescue group, but there are others for which the shelter and PCHS will have to seek homes.
English said many people aren’t aware a Pulaski County ordinance limits one household from having more than five dogs and 10 cats. Of that number, she said, no more than two of the cats can be unaltered. She said she finds that portion of the ordinance a little strange since two cats is all it takes to result in dozens.
Nonetheless, PCHS offers free spaying and neutering for qualified owners who are low income, indigent or are having a feral (wild) cat altered.
PCHS also is always in search of “responsible” pet owners who can afford to care for the animals and are willing to bring the animals into their home. She said they prefer indoor homes since most people live near roads that pose a danger for the animals.
They also are in need of people who can provide foster homes, and sometimes bottle feeding, for the overflow of animals coming into the shelter. Most fostered animals are in a home for about three weeks before being transferred to a permanent home or rescue group.
Anyone interested in adopting or fostering an animal, finding out if they qualify for free spaying or neutering services, or simply wishing to donate time or supplies to PCHS should call 674-0089 or e-mail pchasva@gmail.com.
But most importantly, English said, “no one should get a pet unless they can afford to have it spayed or neutered. We can’t find enough homes for the (animals) we have now.”