Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:44 PM on Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homes desperately needed

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


With temperatures dropping to zero and below, and snow stacking up, the Homer Animal Shelter is experiencing a dramatic increase in its feline guests.

"People have an idea cats can survive by themselves. It's a myth. There is no food and there is no water," said Sherry Bess, shelter manager. "If you see them outside, bring them in."

Every shelter animal has a sad story. There's Princess Taco, the former greeter of a local inn until her owner died recently. Used to a one-person household, the black-and-white longhaired beauty is not comfortable around other cats, so Bess has done what she can to accommodate the princess's needs while she awaits a new home.

There's a cat that was dropped from several stories above the ground. A cat displaced when a family welcomed a new infant. A three-legged cat. Cats that have been booted out the door and forgotten. Abandoned cats that made homes for themselves under local businesses. There are kittens, a 20-year-old cat with a strong will to survive and everything in between.

As different as their lives may have been, these cats and their canine shelter companions — as of Friday that included a chocolate Labrador, a poodle, a Pomeranian, a Malamute, a Weimaraner and others — share a common need: a home.

"Don't think somebody else will do it," said volunteer Elaine Baker of the help these animals need. "It's everybody's responsibility."

The adoption fee is $15 per animal. A rabies vaccine costs $13. A sliding scale helps reduce the cost of spaying and neutering.

If adding an animal to the household isn't possible, there are other ways to help, such as donations of food and litter.

"We're going through a lot of cat supplies right now," said Bess, adding, "And for their quality of life on a daily basis, sit in the lobby, pet an animal, spend time one on one. It makes the day better for them. It's so important."

The shelter is located across from Public Works on the Sterling Highway. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon-5 p.m. For more information, call 235-3141.

McKibben Jackinksy can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.