Macon County’s Animal Control office held “Operation Meow” as a last attempt to find homes for felines at the shelter last week. The shelter's cat room reached capacity with 25 adult cats and 20 kittens, so shelter staff launched Operation Meow to avoid having to euthanize any animals.
During Operation Meow, Animal Control adopted out 17 adult cats and 16 kittens for a total of 33 successful adoptions. “Our community has been incredible in responding to the needs of these unfortunate pets,” said Sachenka Angel, Public Relations volunteer for Macon County Animal Control. “When we started the campaign we had 25 adult cats and 20 kittens in the shelter. Sadly, during the campaign, we did receive additional cats into the shelter. It is a revolving door per se, but our community has really been there to help us and we need their continued support.”
“Operation Meow was created to relieve the burden of overcrowding of cats in the shelter,” said Angel. “There are several factors that weigh into the cause of overcrowding. During the spring season the shelter receives a large amount of cats turned in mostly due to the failure of pet owners to spay or neuter their pets. Many owners let their cats loose once the cold weather has subsided which, combined with the lack of a disciplined spay/neuter practice, results in an increased birth rate of kittens. The end result is more strays and more new kittens.”
In addition to the increase of strays and kittens being left at the shelter, the Animal Control office has also seen an increase in the number of owners who are unable to provide their pets with proper care so they are surrendered to the shelter.
“Macon County Animal Control has been getting a lot of attention for improving our adoption rates and pet owners feel more comfortable surrendering their pets and placing the burden of their welfare on our organization,” said Angel. “The county then becomes responsible for what was ultimately their responsibility. This does tax our resources as our staff, community members and volunteers have to work even harder to ensure that these pets find forever homes. Unlike many organizations, where success translates into decreased demand on effort, our success has led to an increased demand on ours. We would really like to let pet owners know that adopting a pet is a lifelong commitment and not to be considered a passing fad.”
In an attempt to increase the shelter's adoption rates and leveraging on the good nature of the community and supporters, since last September the shelter has adopted the practice of providing every adoptive parents with a gift bag for their adopted pet.
“Our business community has been wonderful in providing free products and/or services with each adoption,” said Angel. “From ice cream cones at DQ, personal pizzas at Chris and Charlie’s, a free one month supply of pet food, free grooming from a local groomer and a free local vet visit, we are persistent in providing additional value and rewarding our community members for saving an animal in need. Our packages are always substantive and worth more than the cost of adoption alone. These packages are meant to thank our adoptive families as well as promote local pet friendly businesses and show how they are doing their part in solving our homeless pet problem.”
Although Operation Meow lowered the adoption fee for cats to $10, the adoption fees are normally $65 which just covers the cost of spaying or neutering the pet. “We do require that the pet be spayed/neutered in order to adhere to responsible breeding practices,” explained Angel. “In addition to the spay/neuter, the fee also helps cover the cost of the pet’s vaccinations. We do occasionally have promotions, as with Operation Meow, where we reduce this fee but our costs remain the same.”
Angel encourages pet owners to properly care for their pet in order to prevent them from being placed in the shelter and possibly being euthanized. “If there is a clear message that we would like to send to our community it is please adhere to responsible breeding practices and have your pets spayed/neutered,” said Angel. “Love your pet forever and don’t turn them in like used merchandise. And we would like to thank our community for being so supportive and helping us save a life. We could not do anything without their continued support. Macon County has shown that together we can make a big difference in saving homeless pets.”
For additional information, contact Linda Sprinkle at Macon County Animal Control (828-349-2106) or Sachenka Angel at (828)788-5052. Information about “Last Chance Homeless Pet Adoptions” as well as promotions and events for the shelter can be found at : http://www.facebook.com/maconanimal.