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Strays welcome - Ways you can reach out to help lonely and neglected animals


That fear of being alone and cold with no one to turn to for love isn’t just a human concern.

Sadly, it is all too true for too many cats and dogs — who, unlike humans, can’t voice their longing for someone to care.

Like humans, they want comfort in life with someone to reassure them that they are loved, that someone cares about their welfare and happiness.

Thankfully, there are numerous resources in Parker County to help make this scenario a reality. From rescuing animals to finding them foster and permanent homes, the opportunities are there to bring together a new pet and a loving family.

Among the many organization who can help are the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter, Parker Paws, and Weatherford Whiskers.

Lincoln is a friendly fellow and would like a home. As of press time he was available for adoption from the WeatherfordpParker County Animal Shelter.
Lincoln is a friendly fellow and would like a home. As of press time he was available for adoption from the WeatherfordpParker County Animal Shelter.

Health and safety for dogs, cats, and local wildlife

The Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter is a municipal animal shelter focused on the health, safety, and well-being of animals and their human counterparts. From puppies, kittens, dogs and cats, to assistance with local wildlife, their mission is to improve the bonds between humans and animals.

There are lots of animals waiting to join a new family or companion. Now, all that's needed is for humans to do their part, said Dustin Deel, Weatherford Director of Municipal and Community Services.

Deel said on any given day the shelter can house upwards of 160 dogs and 50-plus cats. The adoption area can display about 50 dogs and about 30 cats.

"If we have an abundance of puppies or kittens we do have smaller kennels in which we can house more animals who are available for the public to see and adopt," he said.

The challenge is more getting people into the shelter to adopt than finding animals needing someone to adopt them. Unfortunately, there seems to be more of the latter in society today.

"We encounter countless reasons why an animal may come into the shelter for care, ranging from the basic stray cat/dog to an extreme car accident on I-20 means the owner is in the hospital so the pet in the front seat is now needing to be in the shelter," Deel said.

"As the human population of Parker County continues to rise, this only means the number of pets in the area is also increasing. With every pet comes the responsibility of ownership and sometimes even the basics are a challenge for an owner to provide. A final factor of educating owners on the importance of spay/neuter only helps the problem of pet overpopulation."

Reily is in urgent need of adoption. Reach out to the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter for more information.
Reily is in urgent need of adoption. Reach out to the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter for more information.

Simple process

The process of adopting is very simple.

"We first want the public to come into the shelter and spend time with their future family members. If the person owns a dog at home, we’d love for them to bring their dog(s) for a meet-n-greet of the new animal," Deel said. "If everything looks good, the person then comes to the adoption office to complete some quick paperwork. Staff will check through some basic questions and verify the new owner is a good fit for adoption. Once passed and paperwork signed, the new owner can take their adopted pet home."

All adoptions come with a sample bag of food, collar/leash/harness, toys, and other goodies which have been donated to the shelter. All adopted pets have been spayed or neutered, are current on all vaccinations including rabies, and have a microchip which is registered into the new owner's name.   

Also, the adoption process is not expensive. The cost to adopt a male dog is $90 and a female dog is $100. Cat adoptions are $50. Also, there are times during the year when the shelter will run a special to assist with adoptions by reducing the cost to adopt for a specific time frame. 

The shelter also works closely with Weatherford Whiskers, which specializes in helping cats find new homes.

"Baby kittens and barn cats are a niche that Weatherford Whiskers has really stepped up to help our shelter," Deel said.

The barn cat program is exactly what the name says: feral cats are placed in barns, acclimate to their surroundings, and live there. It is a safe way to control the rodent and snake population in your barn. There are no poisons for children and pets to get into and no need to set nasty traps.

Feral cats who end up at the shelter are not adoptable. Sadly, feral cats are humanely euthanized for that reason. WPCAS' barn program has helped save hundreds of feral cats.

Other organizations that assist the shelter in its mission include Tall Tails Transport and Rescue, Highway Hounds, I Rescue, Paws of Love Animal Rescue, Great Pyrenees Rescue Society, and Relinquished Souls Rescue Society. 

“These are rescues who help us by ‘pulling’ animals from our shelter and finding homes for them through their organization,” Deel said.

Parker Paws doesn’t have a presence at the shelter in the form of finding animals homes as much lately, but Deel said they do focus their efforts on spaying/neutering pets for citizens who otherwise would not get their pet fixed.

"This assistance to the shelter is hard to measure, but every extra animal that is spayed, neutered, not breeding, is helping the shelter," he said.

Top of the list

As for what the general public can do help, spaying and neutering is at the top of the list.

"Seriously, this is the best thing any pet owner can do to help the shelter and all animals looking for a home," Deel said. "The next best thing to do is have your pet microchipped. Microchipping improves the chances of a lost dog reuniting with its owners by 2.4 times, and a microchipped cat improves its chances to find home by 21.4 times."

WPCAS offers microchipping for $20 per animal and it’s quick and easy. Most veterinarians offer this service as well.

Another important thing to remember is if you own a cat or dog, make sure your pet always wears a collar with a current identification and/or rabies tag. Just because an animal has a microchip doesn't mean it will wind up at WPCAS or a vet's office where they can check them. Tags can be purchased at the WPCAS for a small donation of $5 (for small tags) or $7 (for large tags).

By law, WPCAS is required to hold a lost or stray animal for 72 hours. Unfortunately, most of these animals have no ID of any kind, making it nearly impossible to find the owner. Also, surprisingly, many people never think to look for their pet at the shelter. Without ID, most pets never make it back home.

And, of course, volunteers are always welcome, Deel said.

"We want to thank all the volunteers, rescue groups, staff and citizens who work so hard to support our animal shelter. There’s a lot of good things that are working behind the scenes as well as advertised daily and it takes a village to operate a successful animal shelter," he said. "We couldn’t do it without the support of our community and we are very grateful for all the assistance we receive."

If you would like to be a party of the shelter's future success and are interested in donating to the shelter's capital campaign, reach out and they can guide you on how to give. Contact them at 817-598-4111.

Reducing Overcrowding

Parker Paws is a foster-based, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with a mission to reduce shelter overcrowding and pet overpopulation through their community outreach programs.

Parker Paws offers services and assistance to residents of Parker County either free or at low cost to help reduce the population of unwanted pets and to keep pets in their homes rather than have them surrendered to a shelter, rescued, or abandoned.

Among the most significant of these is SNIP (Spay Neuter Incentive Program), which offers low/no-cost spay/neuters to pet owners who cannot otherwise afford it for their pets, and the low-cost microchip clinics help lost pets find their way home.

"In 2021 we helped 131 pets with low/no-cost spay and neuters. In 2022, we helped 256.  Every pet spayed equals 15 possible offspring per year not being born!" said Parker Paws President Teresa Chisum. “The success of SNIP has Parker Paws evolving into an animal welfare group. Rescue will play a lesser role in our future as we place a greater focus on helping to reduce our community’s pet overpopulation problem."

Parker Paws was founded in 2007 by Barbara Pursley as a shelter volunteer group. In 2012, they went out on their own as an independent animal rescue to expand their ability to save more lives across North Texas. 

As a foster-based rescue, Parker Paws does not have a facility and is not a shelter. All of their foster pets are kept in homes with families, and, in many cases, other pets. They provide all foster homes with all necessary supplies to ensure our foster pets receive appropriate medical care prior to adoption.

Expanded Services

Realizing that rescue is just a band-aid, Parker Paws expanded their services to include community outreach programs to help reduce shelter overcrowding and companion pet overpopulation. Every pet spayed equals 15 possible offspring per year not being born. In three years, and as early as four months old, one un-spayed female and one un-neutered male can produce 512 dogs and 382 cats.

Parker Paws offers low-cost/no-cost spays/neuters ranging from $0-$20 to the community and sponsors the remaining balance ranging from $80-$100 to their partnered vet clinics. All applicants are required to have their pets up-to-date with a rabies certificate. Parker Paws does not pay for this vaccine or any additional services at this time.

They also partner with the Millsap Veterinary Clinic and the Weatherford Animal Clinic to offer low-cost microchip clinics to help reunite pets with owners more quickly.

Parker Paws will be at Willow Bark from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 15 at McCall Elementary School, 400 Scenic Trail in Willow Park.

For more information about Parker Paws, contact them at 817-694-5718 or visit https://www.parkerpaws.org/.

High-risk felines

Weatherford Whiskers is an all-volunteer nonprofit animal rescue group. They rescue high-risk cats from local shelters. Once rescued, they place them in experienced foster homes where they receive love, are socialized for family life, and are given top-notch vet care, including vaccinations and are spayed/neutered, before being placed up for adoption in to a "furever" home.

Carole Malugani, President/Founder of Weatherford Whiskers, said they currently have 24 cats at their adoption center at 807 E. Park Ave. in Weatherford, and others available at Petsmart.

"Our first quarter we have adopted out 59 as of the end of March," she said. "However we currently have 92 cats/kittens in our care at this time and the numbers rise daily as the calls for help flood in."

The 68 that are not available yet for adoption are in foster care and made up of:

  • 30 bottle babies, which are kittens that can not eat on their own, do not have moms, and need to be bottle-fed anywhere from every two hours to every four hours depending on age;
  • 11 kittens which can now eat on their own which is usually five to six weeks old;
  • Six moms with a total of 20 nursing kittens between them; and
  • One pregnant mom due any day.

"We take our Adoptions very seriously and our adoption process is rather extensive," Malugani said. "We pour our heart and souls into our babies and we want to make sure they get the best homes possible. We require our homes to be indoor only and do not allow them to be declawed."

If everything checks out and looks good on the application, the next step is for the whole family (or whoever is living in the home where the pet will be living) come in for a meet-and-greet at the adoption center ,or Petsmart, depending on the cat’s location.

"We watch how the cat interacts with the family and how the family is with the cat. Our cats spend a lot of time in foster care, so we get to know their personalities and what type of home would be best for them," Malugani said.

"At our adoption center our cats are free-roaming and we ask that people just going in, sit down and let the cats come to them. If it is a good match then they sign a contract and are given instructions on introducing the cat into their new home.”


A tougher adoption

Cats have a harder time getting adopted than dogs. Malugani believes that to be true for several reasons.

"There are a lot fewer rescue groups that work with cats. Most are dog rescues with some doing cats here and there, but their main focus is on the dogs," she said. "When you go into a shelter most of the times the cats are housed in noisy room next to barking dog. The cat is confined to cages where they get no physical activity and little interaction with each other or people. This is a very stressful environment for them, which many times causes them to become ill.

"The dogs are taken out of their cages, walked daily, and most get to spend time in the play yard running and having interaction with people. Dog are also taken to offsite adoption events, which cats are not. In the shelters there are far less volunteers for the cats, partly because there is nowhere to allow the cats time out of the cages, so very little can be done to interact with them. Little networking is done to find them homes compared to the dogs."

She said this is the main reason Weatherford Whiskers was created.

"I volunteered at the shelter and saw that cats desperately needed help. We just wish we could help them all," she said.

If you have a warm, safe place in your home where cats can stay while they get well, obtain vaccinations, and get spayed/neutered until they are ready to find their "furever" dream home, you could be a foster. All expenses are paid for by Weatherford Whiskers.


TNVR Program

The TNVR program is another part of Weatherford Whiskers. It stands for trap, neuter, vaccinate and return. Weatherford Whiskers provides humane traps and works with you to trap the kitties, which are then spayed or neutered, ear tipped and given a rabies vaccine.

This service is provided at no cost to most of the residents of Parker County at the Weatherford Parker County animal shelter, or $5 per cat to cover a rabies vaccine at Texas Coalition for Animal Protection.

Each cat is ear tipped during surgery. Ear tipping tells rescue groups and animal control that the cat has been part of a TNVR program and no longer needs to be trapped.

After the procedure, the kitties are returned to their territory and released to live a happy healthier life, no longer reproducing, contributing to the overpopulation of homeless cats and kittens.

Except for the $5 rabies cost per cat, Weatherford Whiskers helps to provide assistance with feral cats at no charge.

Also, Weatherford Whiskers will loan out traps to individuals who are able to do their own trapping.

Malugani said there are many way the public can help. They are always looking for volunteers, foster families, donations of supplies and monetary donations to help with vet bills. Weatherford Whiskers relies 100 % on donations.

To find out more, contact them at 817-694-4106 or https://www.weatherfordwhiskers.org/.


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