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Caboodles of kittens

South Boston NewsSouth Boston NewsSouth Boston NewsSouth Boston News / July 18, 2019
“We’ve got kittens on top of kittens on top of kittens,” said Faye Michaud of the Halifax County Humane Society.

While animal shelters around the United States typically see a rise in kittens taken in during the spring and summer months, local shelters are seeing more than usual this year.

“They come in waves. You get a bunch in the spring; you get a bunch in late-middle summer,” said Todd Moser, the chief animal warden of Halifax County Animal Control, which runs the animal shelter.

The animal shelter gets kittens from people who find mother cats with litters on the side of the road, or whose own cats have kittens that they are unable to keep. While the local Humane Society and SPCA often offer free services to spay and neuter cats, many people still fail to take care of it — resulting in unwanted progeny.

“There’s no reason not to spay and neuter because we will help you financially,” said Rosemary Ramsey of the Paws and Claws SPCA in Halifax.

Members of local rescue groups take animals from the animal shelter to foster temporarily, relieving the burden of the shelter while helping to find homes for the animals. However, they can only take so many. Michaud is caring for 15 cats right now, along with some dogs. Time constraints figure in as well, as foster groups try to avoid keeping kittens for more than three or four weeks to prevent the foster animals from bonding too much with their temporary owners. However, with so many kittens, caretakers sometimes have to keep the kittens for months at a time.

The rescue groups in Halifax often partner up for adopt-a-thons at Tractor Supply and the Halifax Farmers’ Market, but they also depend on shelters up north to take in some of their orphans.

“We have rescues up as far as Massachusetts and New Jersey, but they’re full. They’ve been rescuing animals from Louisiana because of floods,” Michaud said.

The Paws and Claws SPCA sends many pets to the North Shore Animal League in New York, the largest and oldest no-kill rescue in the world. However, according to Ramsey, that rescue, too, is backed up, and is unable to take any more cats.

While the animal shelter itself has managed to have many cats adopted in the last two weeks, lowering the number of cats down to around 25, the problem still remains, and members of the foster groups are concerned about the possibility of euthanasia. “The last thing our shelter here wants is to euthanize kittens,” said Ramsey. “We’ve always been able to find shelters or rescues or homes.”

To help with this bumper crop of kittens, the Paws and Claws SPCA is hosting an adopt-a-thon at the Halifax County Animal Shelter Saturday, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The shelter is located at 1040 Farm Road, South Boston.

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