One of the toughest decisions a pet owner has to make is whether to pass ownership of their pet to someone else. A new lifestyle change, such as a move or divorce, evictions, inability to afford to feed and support the animal, when a person enters assisted living, or death of the owner are the most common reasons needed to return his fur. baby.
A new program, “Rehoming Assistance for Kerr County Pets,” was launched recently by Kerrville Pets Alive to help rehoming pets rather than having them turned over to animal control or other animal shelters.
“We get emails, texts and phone calls from people in need,” said Karen Guerriero, one of the founders of Kerrville Pets Alive. “They love their pets and want help connecting with potential new owners. We want to let them help decide where their pet will go.
The rehoming program also works with Peterson Hospice to help families of people in hospice care let them know they have options if they need to find a new home for a pet.
“Knowing that their pet has a place to go is comforting for the person in palliative care and for their family,” added Guerriero. “We try to educate people to start thinking about it before the last minute.”
Information about the pet to be fostered may be posted on the Pets Alive website.
“We recommend, where possible, that a small rehousing fee be paid to the pet’s previous owner, allowing for personal engagement with the new owner. We encourage people to post a photo of the animal, veterinary records, animal behaviors, whether they are house trained, get along with other animals, or get along with children,” said Warrioro.
She said some animals are easy to bring home, but some are more difficult to place, especially pit bulls and pit-mix dogs, as well as other larger mixed breeds.
Kerrville Pets Alive was officially formed in 2019 when they were asked by the Kerr County Commissioners Court to find a solution to the overcrowding and euthanasia issues facing the county at that time. Guerriero had worked with a similar program in Houston before moving to the Hill Country with his family.
After the program was organized and granted 501(c)3 nonprofit status, community support grew steadily, with many local businesses, foundations and other groups organizing pet food drives and other events to support the organization.
A trailer was donated to the organization about six months ago, and they had it packaged with the logo and taken to events throughout the region.
“It’s an emotional billboard for us,” Guerriero said. “It gets a lot of attention for us.”
KPA sponsors “pet microchipping” events in conjunction with other events in the community to provide pet owners the opportunity to have their pet microchipped, which identifies the owner if the animal is lost.
They have also sponsored rabies vaccination clinics and sometimes pay vets’ fees for animals, using donations to KPA.
In their Clay Street office, they have dog and cat food and a variety of other necessary supplies for pets in need. Information about returning pets and arranging pet spaying or neutering, other medical needs, and lost and found pet information is available.
“We can also scan a pet for a microchip in the office,” Guerriero said.
The local “Big Fix” program has also partnered with KPA to address feral cat issues in the county.
“Our community is overwhelmed with cats because new real estate developments and business development have driven them away,” she said, “so we try to attract any entities that can help us with cats.”
Guerriero said Pets Alive also works with people who can’t afford the pet deposit on their rental residences and said rental property owners are becoming more restrictive about the types and sizes of pets allowed. in rentals in this area.
“We are also seeing a lot of people who have pets that need medical care and cannot afford that care and are looking for an alternative to turning the animal over to animal control.”
Kerr County Animal Control is currently the only available shelter because other shelters are often full, Guerriero added. KCAC is not a no-kill shelter, so when no other options are available, animals should be euthanized.
Over the past few weeks, the shelter has been overwhelmed with pets that have been picked up by animal control officers and others that have been abandoned.
KPA recently partnered with KCAC to relieve overcrowding at the animal control facility when a large group of dogs were seized. KPA volunteers moved several animals to the Hill Country Youth Event Center 4-H facility and worked with the animals for several days until they could be relocated to the animal control location.
“Our primary goal is to support the efforts of KCAS and facilitate the rescue and adoption of animals impounded there,” Guerriero said. “They are understaffed and have limited resources. We are constantly trying to create other solutions for animals that might otherwise end up being euthanized.
Guerriero said KPA representatives were asked to provide comments on the issuance of the November 2022 bond proposal to build a new animal control facility.
“We were included in a trip to Atascosa County to see their facilities,” she said, “and we worked with Peter Lewis, the county architect, who is designing the proposed new facility.”
Guerriero also contributed to public tours held last fall of all proposed improvements to county facilities to be included in the November bond election.
“Most people on the tours agreed that the current animal control facility needs to be replaced,” she said.
Plans are underway for KPA to sponsor a “pet fair” in the fall to provide veterinary help, vaccines, microchipping and other services available to attendees. They provide free year-round microchipping to animal control for owners who are retrieving their pets or county pet owners who wish to have their pets microchipped.
They also help with adoption fees, if needed, and supplies and provide transportation for rescued animals to other nonprofit facilities. KPA sometimes sponsors sterilization for other nonprofit organizations that take animals.
“We have an incredible group of volunteers who dedicate their time to the organization,” Guerriero said, “and we are available to help any rescue partners in this area.”
Donations can be mailed to 317 Sidney Baker So., Suite 400, PMB 345, Kerrville, TX 78029 or can be dropped off at the office at 414 Clay St, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All donations are tax deductible.
Only 14 tickets remained at the end of last week for the October 1 KPA fundraiser.
The Animal Welfare Gala, the first fundraiser of its kind for the organization, will take place at the Museum of Western Art. Gala tickets can be purchased at the office or on their website www.kerrvillepetsalive.com.