On any given day at the Payson Humane Society, we receive at least one and sometimes several cats in traps. A few arrive in carriers. Most of these are brought to us by someone who has seen a cat in their yard and doesn't want it there.
To put it in perspective, we'll give you the numbers for March 2008. We began the month with 60 cats. We took in 30 cats. The number of cats reclaimed by their owners was 0. This is very much in contrast to the dogs, of whom 22 were reclaimed.
There were 28 cats adopted. Sadly, there were 14 sick, injured or feral cats euthanized and several cats DOA. That leaves the March total at 48.
As spring comes along, we begin to see kittens. By the end of the season last year, we had handled a couple hundred kittens.
We started a Trap, Neuter, Return program three years ago to reduce these numbers, as many of the kittens come from feral mothers. To date, we have put about 700 cats through this program, and we are beginning to see progress. However, there are still way too many domesticated cats that are outside and not spayed or neutered. Consequently, we receive many of these litters, too. While in our care, they will be socialized, spayed, neutered, inoculated and given an identification chip to better their chances of finding a loving, forever home.
Over the years, we have seen many of our cats taken home with someone, only to be returned in a trap set by a neighbor who doesn't want cats in his yard watching his bird feeder. We have also had cats returned in much worse condition -- wounded, sick or abused.
We have made changes to the adoption application to help ensure our animals go to the safest, most loving homes possible. It is now our policy to adopt only indoor cats. This policy is quite common in other rescues, shelters and humane societies.
Recently, a woman came in to adopt one of our cats, but when she said she wanted an outdoor cat, the adoption was denied. She became angry and set out for revenge. She collected 200 signatures saying we should change our policies -- that they are cruel and do more harm than good for the animals. She also came to the last board meeting and voiced her concerns, stating we shouldn't be allowed to hold these animals for long periods of time. She even referred to our common cat houses as "cells."
The staff and volunteers at PHS work very hard to treat each animal in our care with love, attention and the utmost compassion. We know the animals here have a wonderful life, considering their circumstances.
I would invite each of the people who signed the petition to come and spend a few days as a volunteer and witness firsthand the true cruelty that can and does occur to animals left to wander the streets. We think some of you may change your minds.
To learn more about Payson Humane Society, come see us at 812 S. McLane Road, give us a call at (928) 474-5590 or look us up on the Web at www.paysonhumanesociety .com, www.petfinders.com or www.inpayson.com.
Lovely, sweet Archie is a 1-year-old Ridgeback mix with a heart of gold. He was picked up as a stray, so we only know him from the contact we have had since he was brought into the shelter. But, we do know that, being a youngster, he has lots of energy and will need some training. Archie rarely barks, and when he does, it's because he's happy to see you. Archie would love to find a home with people who want to play and walk and enjoy life.
Pippy is a charming 1-year-old spayed female Shiba Inu with a little Shepherd in the mix. She is very gentle with people and gets along well with other dogs. She would be a good friend for any age, due to her personality. Please come and meet her at the shelter.
Sassy is a beautiful blonde, 4-year-old Sheltie mix. Her long, flowing locks will need regular brushing and combing. Sassy will be at her best after losing a few pounds, so daily walks would help to get her into shape. She could use some basic training, too, so would be best suited for someone who is willing and able to spend the time that she requires. Sassy's owners sent her to us because they couldn't keep her any longer, but she would make a fine companion for the right family.
Shorty is a handsome, 2-year-old neutered male black Shepherd mix. He has a sleek, short, black and gray, easy-care coat. Shorty is an active dog who requires both mental and physical exercise. He is a wonderful walker on leash, and minds well. He is very loving when he has an outlet for his energy. Shorty lived in a quiet, adult home where he was allowed to sleep indoors. He's fine with kids, but like most dogs he will chase after squirrels, cats and deer. He rides politely in the car. He may have great potential as an agility dog because he can clear fences in a single bound. He doesn't climb fences, he sails over them.
He will do well with a family who can take him with them wherever they go, or leave him in the house when they are gone.
Yodos is a 1-year-old neutered Heeler/ Shepherd mix. He is outgoing and loving. He likes his belly rubbed and will sit at your feet to be petted. He gets along well with the other dogs. He was brought in by PPD and, for some reason, no one reclaimed him. Not sure how he does on leash or if he's housebroken.