Dogs, cats, and other animals find their ways to animal shelters in numerous ways. Some have been carelessly abandoned, others have run away from home and are lost, there are those caught up in unfortunate dog fighting rings or hoarding situations. In some cases, authorities step in and the mistreated animals are placed.
And then, there are those who are voluntarily surrendered by their owners to the Pima Animal Care Center (PAAC) or Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSAZ).
“People generally relinquish an animal because they are moving or have no time to care for a pet,” said Justin Gallick, an animal-care advocate at the Pima Animal Care Center. “Other reasons include the dog being destructive or ‘it’s not the right dog.’”
Gallick explained that some dogs with behavioral problems might benefit from training. He suggests checking with local pet stores or calling a private dog trainer.
Some pet owners find themselves in difficult financial situations and cannot afford the cost of pet care. PACC offers assistance, but many times the decision to give up the pet has already been made.
The total number of animals handled by PACC annually is 28,000. This includes feral cats and animals that have been euthanized, which is another service offered at a reduced fee to pet owners whose animal has been stricken with a painful or life threatening disease and this is the best option to prevent the animal from suffering.
The number of dogs and cats kenneled by the shelter is tripling. The shelter has a total of 175 dog and 140 cat kennels. Due to the increased volume inside the kennels, it is a constant struggle to balance health and safety.
“We need more stainless steel bowls. We start feeding one section of dogs, then go back to clean their empty bowls so we can continue to feed the rest,” said Gallick.
Only stainless steel bowls are used. Plastic bowls can harbor bacteria if they are scratched. Socialized dogs share a kennel, as do cats, depending upon size.
There are many adoptable dogs and cats in need of a forever home.
“Sadly, even if everyone adopted a pet there still wouldn’t be enough homes,” said Gallick.
PACC sponsors Name Your Own Adoption Fee events throughout the year, with the Breakfast with PACC coming up on March 10 from 8 a.m. to noon at 4000 N. Silverbell Road.
The event will feature a jumping castle for kids, raffles, and the first 20 pet adopters will receive a $20 Wal-Mart gift card.
Those not ready for the full-time responsibility of adding a pet to the household, can consider becoming a foster care pet parent.
Animal Foster Care is available through the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
“This time of year we are always in need of people who can foster puppies and kittens,” said Lyndsay Bruno, the public relations lead for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. “It is a short time commitment lasting seven to eight weeks until the animals are ready to adopt out.”
Foster volunteers can choose the animal they prefer to care for and can always turn down a request by HSSA staff members without impact on their volunteer status.
Additional information about the Animal Foster Care program and becoming a volunteer is available at www.hssaz.org or contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 321-3704.
Adoptable animals are available at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd. 327-6088 and the Pima Animal Care Center 4000 N. Silverbell Rd. 243-5900.
PAAC needs volunteers to walk dogs and stainless steel bowls. Monetary donations are greatly appreciated by both organizations.
What: Breakfast with Pima Animal Care Center
When: March 10 from 8 a.m. to noon
Where: 4000 N. Silverbell Road
Information: First 20 pet adopters will receive a $20 gift card from Wal-Mart