“The calls come in by the dozen this time of year,” lamented Krissy Taylor, secretary of Precious Paws. “Usually cats who are dumped with their babies after they become pregnant.”
Farmers are constantly calling the rescue with litters whose former owners drive by and callously throw them from cars that merely slow down.
“A farmer in Titusville called me last week with three more cats dumped at his farm,” said Theresa Weldon, president of Precious Paws. “He was driving his tractor when he saw the car slow down and toss something from the window.”
No stranger to people dumping animals out on his farm, he moved closer and gathered up the kittens, who are now in Precious Paws foster homes, she said.
“We took a litter from him two years ago, too,” she added.
Weldon said that the problem is that everyone thinks that farms need barn cats, but what they don’t realize is that No. 1 – cats are territorial and existing barn cats are likely to harm new arrivals; and No. 2 – most barns have plenty of working cats already.
Regina Martin, who has served as Venango County’s Humane Officer, said “Dumping cats at farms is not the answer … while great strides have been made with farmers, there are those that still take care of too many cats the old fashioned way, which is with a 22.”
“We get calls, emails, Facebook messages, desperate posts on our social media pages to help kittens and cats that have been discarded. The shelters are full; our foster homes are full. There are simply more cats born than there are homes for them, ” Weldon said.
She said it is frustrating for the good Samaritans that find these animals and want to help them, but there is a waiting list several months long. By then, the kittens are no longer the cute, fuzzy babies that people want and its hard to place them.
“We have cats from litters two or three years ago that have grown up in foster families and still haven’t found homes,” Weldon said. “People demand we pick them up, but, unlike dogs, there is no animal control that picks up stray cats.”
“No one is paid; we are all volunteers. Its very frustrating that people don’t appreciate what we do, but rather focus on what we simply can’t do,” she added.
Weldon drove over 4,400 miles last year for Precious Paws, transporting animals, rescuing animals, doing home visits and vet transportation.
“Precious Paws will help transport if there is somewhere for them to go,” said Weldon. “But we have a finite amount of space.”
The rescue has cats in all its available foster homes.
“We try to save spots for special needs cases,” Weldon said.
Those cases included Miracle, the injured cat who needed a paw removed after its paw became damaged, three kittens abandoned after a mom was killed, a sick kitten abandoned at Walmart (named Marty and still looking for a home), cats dumped in the woods at Two Mile Run County Park.
“It never ends,” Weldon said.
One of the reasons Precious Paws focuses so strongly on prevention through spay/neuter is because there are simply not enough homes for them all. In order to keep up with the birth rate of animals, every single person alive would need to own seven animals.
So a family of four would have 28 animals; its simply not a reasonable expectation. That is why spay/neuter is so important.
“It kills me to see rescues that don’t practice pediatric spay/neuter because you can bet your boots there will be kittens from those adopted animals in next years’ shelter intake,” Weldon said.
She said if you don’t stop the pet overpopulation at its source, it will never get better.
Over half of Precious Paws’ program budget goes to spay/neutering animals in the community and feral cats.
“It is the ONLY way things will ever decrease to a point where we aren’t killing tons of cats in shelters,” she said.
Weldon added that abandoning a dog or cat is also illegal.
PA Crimes code states “a person convicted of abandoning or attempting to abandon an animal within this Commonwealth shall pay a fine of not less than $300 dollars and not more than $1,000, plus costs.”
Precious Paws set up motion security cameras at its SNYP clinic because of drop offs. Another local rescue in Shippenville had a dog and cat abandoned and the car was captured on cameras, which allowed authorities to press charges.
“If you cannot keep an animal you find, or have one you no longer want, the responsible thing is to try and find a rescue or shelter for it,” Weldon said.
“Yes, kill shelters may euthanize for lack of space, but that is an unavoidable reality as long as there are more animals than homes for them,” she added.
“There are things worse than death – being abandoned to starve to death, or attacked by predators, or killed by a motor vehicle are some of the fates that await abandoned animals,” Weldon said.
Precious Paws can be reached by phone at (814) 671-9827 or by email at AdoptPreciousPaws@gmail.com. More information about the group and its low-cost spay/neuter program, SNYP, can be found online at pparfranklin.com or on the group’s Facebook page.
Spots open for spay/neuter clinics
Tri-County Animal Rescue Center in Shippenville has always vigorously promoted spaying and neutering people’s pets and offers five spay/neuter clinics throughout the year. Surgeries are done through Allegheny Spay/Neuter Clinic in Woodland and transportation for people’s pet(s) is provided to and from the clinic. A rabies vaccine is included with all surgeries and a long-lasting pain injection or a pain medication is provided. Additional vaccines are available at a nominal cost.
Tri-County can send unlimited male cats, but all others are limited. Slots are filled in order of paid applications received, and those applications can be mailed, emailed or dropped off at Tri-County.
The center still has available slots for its two remaining clinics this year on Aug. 11 and Sept. 29. The link for the application can be found at tricounty-arc.org under “Forms”or by stopping at the rescue center.
Another spay/neuter program the center is happy to offer is through its partnership with Clarion Animal Hospital and is a low-cost spay/neuter option for low-income pet owners.
To apply for this program, pet owners must qualify for the SNAP program, be on SSDI or SSI, receive unemployment benefits, etc. and be able to show proof. A household can qualify for up to two certificates a year and the application will be done through Tri-County. For more information, interested persons can contact Tri-County on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Tri.County.Animal.Rescue.Center, call (814) 918-2032, or email contactus@Tricounty-arc.org.
Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat
10. Black cats are terrific at playing hide and seek.
9. You can give them unique names like Onyx, Sable, Raven, or Midnight.
8. Black cats will match any decor.
7. You can always find them in the snow.
6. Holding a black cat is very slimming.
5. Black cats always look sophisticated, shiny and sleek. They can’t help it!
4. You’ll save money on their Halloween costumes.
3. Black cats don’t steal your soul, they steal your heart.
2. They don’t care what color your hair is!
And the number one reason to adopt a black cat …
*** They are the least likely to be adopted ***
Baxter is the high-energy “bad boy” in the bunch and will be the first kitten racing out the apartment door when it opens. He loves to play and run, although he is well known at Tri for running into and knocking over scoop buckets daily! Handsome Baxter has a gray undercoat which makes him look striped and, when he isn’t in play mode, he loves being held and cuddled.
Running right behind Baxter is his brother, Niagra, who sports a few gray furs mixed into his black coat. Niagra is usually busy playing with his siblings and other kittens, but when he needs a break, he enjoys being snuggled and petted.
Black-as-night Rorie is calm and laid back. She is in no hurry to rush out of the apartment but delights in being in the company of people. Her glossy, black fur is as pleasurable to admire as it is to stroke. If you are in the market for a kitten who wants to be your hangout buddy, Rorie is your girl!
Inky may be the tiniest of her siblings but she makes up for her size with her big personality! She loves to play, jump and stand on top of things, and is often found standing on top of her brothers! In true cat fashion, Inky has a facial expression that says, “I am so not impressed” and is charmingly marked with a touch of white on her petite chest.
These kittens, and many more, are available for adoption at Tri-County Animal Rescue Center in Shippenville. More information is available at tricounty-arc.org or by calling (814) 918-2032.
(All About Animals is a weekly blog that appears on Venangoextra.com and Clarionextra.com. Interested persons or groups can submit information to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the blog is available by contacting Anna Applegate at 814-677-8364.)