— By BRIAN SMITH
Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter officials are now able to nearly triple the amount of cats the shelter can comfortably hold, thanks to a grant from the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
In the last fiscal year, the ASPCA gave the shelter a $12,000 grant for the construction of 22 stainless steel cat kennels, up from its previous nine. Director of Animal Services Dustin Deel said the new cages were installed late last month. It’s one of many services the ASPCA has provided to the shelter in recent months.
“We have been using the ASPCA, which has been great helping us with their expertise in making the shelter better for animals,” Deel said. “They now have a strong enough belief in us to provide us with some money so we can get these kennels up and running.”
The new kennels, which were assembled and installed in one day, provide significantly more space for the animals to walk around. The two-level kennel also includes a ledge for the animals to lay.
“Cats like to be up high and this gives them the opportunity to do that,” Deel said.
The kennels are now not only easier to clean but prohibit disease transmission as well, aiding in keeping the cats healthy, Deel said.
“It used to take us about 15 minutes to clean one of the cages. We can now cut that down to two or three maximum,” Deel said.
“In their old cages, cats could sneeze in their corners which would spread germs between cages. With the new cages, there’s stainless steel blocking that, which keeps germs from being spread and keeps all the cats healthier.”
Deel said the old cages are still available if an influx of cats does happen. Recently, the shelter received more than 50 cats at one time. The shelter presently has five adult cats ready for adoption.
The shelter is also looking to expand its puppy capacity as well with similar-style cages but needs the funds to do that.
“About $9,000 will do the trick on that,” Deel said with a smile.
In a related item, Precious the pit bull dog and her five puppies, who were saved during surgery New Year’s Eve, have a new home out in the county.
Deel said two days after a story ran Jan. 3 in the Weatherford Democrat, a Parker County resident contacted the shelter and said she would be willing to take all the dogs.