Medical expenses costly at animal shelter

Despite his medical issues, Fetch is one happy boy.

The six-year-old Akita mix recently had one of his eyes removed due to glaucoma, but he's on the mend and will soon be ready for his fur-ever home.

"Fetch is doing great," Pet and Wildlife Rescue (PAWR) volunteer Jennifer Clements said recently of the stray. "After he heals, he'll be ready for adoption."

Fetch is but one of the many pets currently available for adoption at the Chatham agency. The facility has had an extraordinarily busy summer and fall and had to stop accepting animals in October because of overload.

Clements said the number of animals had to be restricted because PAWR was "just so full.

"It's an unusual time," she said, adding the numbers normally slow down as the weather cools.

But not this year.

"With the cat population specifically, the amount of spays and neuters has declined," Clements explained, noting both procedures are an important component of animal control.

Sadly, PAWR has seen an increase in the number of dogs coming in that are lost and abandoned.

"We're not seeing them reclaimed either," Clements said, but noted the tide may be turning as three dogs were adopted in the past couple of weeks.

PAWR is presently wrapping up its second Under One Roof fundraiser campaign and is looking to replenish its medical emergency funds for cases such as Fetch. According to Clements, the facility spends about $15,000 a month on veterinary care of which about $4,000 goes to emergency medical matters.

Currently the shelter is caring for around 330 animals, primarily cats, and overall monthly costs run about $90,000. PAWR has a contract with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to provide animal control and bylaw services but the overall costs exceed the budget when medical care is factored in, as many animals are hurt or ill when they arrive.

For those wishing to donate to Under One Roof, which wraps up Nov. 16, visit www.pawr.org/funds. PAWR also has a wish list on its website asking for specific items such as cat toys and peanut butter.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice