By Bob Gordon, FOTAS Communications Director
It’s a rainy Tuesday morning and although the Shelter opened its doors less than an hour ago, the staff has already taken in two litters of homeless kittens. A Siamese mix is weaning three of the kittens and a Calico is cuddled with six babies, two of them breathing heavily and needing medical attention.
“I didn’t know what to do,” says the elderly Aiken woman who brought in the Siamese mom and her brood. “I’d love to keep them but I already have four cats and two dogs at the house.”
An hour later, a woman and her young son bring in two Spaniel mix dogs that they say wandered onto their farm. Still later, an elderly man arrives with a chubby, brown Tabby in a wire cage. Then, just before noon, another man surrenders six kittens. He says they were born under his porch but the momma cat was hit by a car and killed.
This seemingly endless parade of homeless animals is not unusual these days. The Shelter is at full capacity and the combination of warmer weather and longer daylight hours means more animals are breeding. Springtime also signals the arrival of “kitten season”, a peak time of feline births that will continue through September.
But while the extremely high intake of animals makes for challenging times at the Shelter, there are many ways you can help, including:
- Take advantage of our May half-price special and adopt a pet. This month, all cats and dogs that have already been spay/neutered are just half-price at the shelter. The adoption fee for cats (normally $35) is just $17.50 and for dogs (normally $75) is only $35!
- Volunteer at the shelter. We need all sorts of help, especially dog walkers and people to show the animals to visitors. We have cats and kittens that need cuddling and care; dogs that need to be walked, washed and shown to visitors; and puppies that need to be socialized and loved. Come to 333 Wire Road and fill out an application.
- Foster shelter animals at your home. To get homeless animals prepared for adoption and open up space on the adoption floor, we are seeking fosters to temporarily take in animals. Come to the shelter and fill out an application, and we’ll get you started on this rewarding journey.
- Get your dogs and cats on heartworm preventative treatment ASAP. Way too many dogs that are picked up or surrendered at the shelter test positive for heartworms. Please get your pets on a year-round preventative right away. Heartworms is a mosquito-borne condition and the buzzing blood suckers are already out and about. Consult your veterinarian for which preventative best suits your pet.
And, of course, be sure to spay/neuter your pets. This is where the overpopulation problem starts. Typically, dogs and cats are mature and efficient breeding machines at just four months of age. Both FOTAS and the County offer financial assistance to qualified pet owners for this surgery – including a voucher program, FOTAS Fix-a-Pet and a TNR (trap, neuter, release) plan. Getting your pet fixed should be a top priority. In fact, it is your duty as a good citizen of Aiken County.
Their lives are in our hands.
For more information, please go to www.fotasaiken. You can also call (803) 514-4313 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.