Homes sought for flood of local pets
By Jessica Warren
It could be said that it's raining cats and dogs in Cache Valley. More accurately, floods of litters of kittens and puppies found abandoned in open fields, by the side of the highway or in the mountains.
The Cache Valley Humane Society is hoping to be able to provide a shelter for these animals in the near future. Land to support them has been purchased, but the money to care for the animals is still lacking.
The projected cost for the project is about $300,000, according to Lee Austin, president of the board of directors of the society. He said they need at least half of the projected cost saved before beginning construction. Right now he said they have about $14,000.
Fundraising is a prime responsibilities of the board. Auctions, a pet walk-a-thon in May, garage sales, and a committee working with major donors, are some of the activities held by the organization to raise money.
"We hope to find someone able and sympathetic to our cause," said Austin.
They are also involved in education in schools on pet control and care, and also working with the Cache County Sheriff's office on animal cruelty cases.
The need for a shelter is great because of the large number of stray animals. Austin said that most of the problem comes from irresponsible pet owners who don't spay or neuter their animals. From this leads to litters trying to be given away in front of grocery stores, which Austin said rarely turns out to be successful homes for the animals.
Because there is no shelter to take in these abandoned animals, the city's animal control picks them up and hold them for the mandatory five days before they are put to sleep.
To reduce the number of animals put to the sleep, the Humane Society has a few foster people for animals.
"Right now all we have are concerned and active people," said Austin.
One of those people is Kitty White, taking in stray cats for the society for the past seven or eight years. At the moment she is caring for 52 cats that can be adopted.
Along with three dogs and 17 of her own cats, White keeps the cats, all with names, in two rooms in the back of her house. Sixteen litter boxes, four to five hours of good cleaning on Sundays, and $500-$600 each month are the sacrifices she makes for these animals.
"If somebody doesn't do it, they're going to be put to sleep," said White.
With only small donations for various people, and some from the society, White continues to buy food, litter and vaccinations and shots for all the "neighborhood strays."
Phyllis Publicover, a member of the Cache Humane Society Board of Directors for more than 20 years, points out that although the shelter will focus on dogs and cats, these are not the only animal problems in Cache Valley.
Farm animals, such as horses and cows, are also being abandoned. Publicover says they are planning to provide a small pasture to board a few horses and maybe some cows.
Austin says there is a mentality that pets are disposable. He hopes that through education this philosophy can be corrected.
Publicover used to teach a class of mentally retarded children, and she involved various animals in the classroom. Rabbits, hamsters, dogs and cats, one pet for each of the eight children. She said it was rewarding to see the children interact with animals.
"Animals can be friends with people, and people can be friends with animals," said Publicover.
Right now, the society needs donations or foster people to take in animals. Any interested can call the Cache Humane Society at 792-3920.
To become a member of the Cache Humane Society, write to P.O. Box 3640 Logan, UT, 84323-3640.