Happy times at humane society, lots of adoptions

By Wayne Bryan Published April 10, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Nick Hillemann

Ann Sanders, president of the Humane Society of Saline County in Bauxite, shows off the adoption package that comes with cats taken from the facility.

BAUXITE — It is a good time for the Humane Society of Saline County and the animals for which they work to protect, treat and find new, loving forever homes.

“We found homes for 86 dogs and cats in March, and we’ve already had 27 adoptions this month,” Ann Sanders, president of the Humane Society of Saline County, said Friday. “We have a lot of people coming by when we’re open, and we have had a lot of animals for people to see.”

On Friday, an older couple visited the shelter to see a black 2-year-old Pomeranian and took the dog with them when they left, and a mother brought her daughter along to look at the smaller dogs at the shelter but did not take a dog home.

“That’s OK; it is a big decision,” Sanders said. “We like to see people come back two, even three, times before they adopt a dog or cat. Then we feel they have picked the right animal and that they have gotten to know each other.”

She said another dog was adopted in the first hour the shelter was open on Friday.

According to information found on the Humane Society’s website regarding the Pommie, when the dog first arrived, his hair was so matted that his back had to be shaved, but Sanders said the new growth is coming in nicely.

The dog was one of many with hair issues, and even more serious problems, who came to the shelter in Bauxite as the result of a raid on a puppy mill between Sheridan and Pine Bluff. The February raid made national headlines when officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and 15 rescue workers from the Humane Society of the United States seized 121 dogs, 20 horses, 19 chickens and several cats, rabbits and turtles.

“I held dogs that were trembling and shaking with heavy matted coats,” said U.S. humane society spokesman Dale Bartlett on the day of the raid. “One looked like there was something wrong with its jaw.”

Many of the dogs and other animals were brought to the Humane Society of Saline County and other shelters in the region.

“All of them were seen by our vets and treated before they could be put up for adoption,” Sanders said. “It was heartbreaking to see them when they first got here.”

She said only a few more of the animals are being treated.

“Of course, the rescue got a lot of publicity, and we have had lots of people asking about [the animals],” Sanders said. “We had many offers to provide foster care for the animals.”

Not all the dogs stayed in Bauxite. Sanders said some were transferred to other shelters, either by the national humane society or by the Rescue Wagon, a project sponsored by Petsmart Charities that moves animals around the nation in an effort to improve the dogs’ chances of being adopted.

Some went to shelters in Little Rock, Fort Smith and Conway, and recently, 23 were transferred out of state to the North and East, where there are fewer animals available for adoption.

“Many of the animals we transfer out to Michigan and Wisconsin,” Sanders said. “Wisconsin has a very strict spay-and-neuter law, and there are not a lot of stray dogs around. In Michigan, there are more people looking for pets than there are animals to adopt.”

Another factor driving the adoptions for the society in Saline County is its presence on Facebook. The organization’s page has more than 3,700 Likes and often features photos of the dogs and cats up for adoption.

“Many people visit to look at our animals available for adoptions, and they will call or come in to see a dog or cat we have featured,” Sanders said. “We are having some good months. I’m trying not to analyze the reasons so much and just let it happen.”

Another inducement to adopt an animal is a special new pet package given with each adoption.

The dog will have all its medical shots up to date and will have been treated for heartworms and microchipped,” Sanders said. “The kit includes a carrier, a leash, a personalized dog tag, food, treats and toys, along with training pads and a food bowl.

For those adopting a cat, they receive a disposable litter pan, food, cat treats and a DVD “telling all about” having an adopted pet, Sanders said.

The Humane Society of Saline County was founded in 1975 and has helped save and find homes for thousands of dogs, cats and other animals. The shelter currently has 19 chickens that were brought there after the raid.

“We do not collect their eggs, and we will be selling them soon,” Sanders said. “We have done that before. They are protected in a great coop with houses where they can go in and out as they please.”

Among the chickens are several exotic breeds, such as silkies and the Ameraucana, a breed developed in the United States that lays blue eggs.

While the humane society concentrates on finding homes for pets, it also urges people who have a litter of puppies that need homes to call for an appointment and bring the pups and mother in.

“We will make sure [the puppies] have their shots and are dewormed, and then they can take them home for two weeks,” Sanders said. “They can then turn the puppies over to us when they bring the mom in to be spayed. The same goes for cats and kittens.”

The shelter, at 7600 Arkansas 183, is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To look over the animals available for adoption, visit www.hssaline.org or call (501) 557-5518.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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