Collection targets needs of area animal shelters

Posted: Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A few local women are hoping holiday shoppers will add something to their lists for pound puppies and shelter kittens this season.

Jamie Riley, Holly Campbell, Jackie Hewett, Karen Fuller and several other employees at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Building are collecting pet-related products again this year, as part of their third annual Food for Pets fundraising drive.

“Even a little bit of something is better than nothing,” Riley said.

The event provides food and supplies to the animals at the Kenai Animal Shelter, the Soldotna Animal Control Center and Alaska’s Extended Life Animal Sanctuary in Nikiski.

Riley said welcome items include dry and canned food, treats, toys, blankets, leashes, wood shavings and cleaning supplies.

In regard to the Nikiski facility, monetary donations that can be used to offset spay and neutered cost also are welcome, as are gift cards to local business that sell materials to build doghouses and fenced runs.

“The shelters need as much help as they can get,” Riley said, and explained the reason is their funds are limited and what they have usually goes to the basics.

Brett Reid, animal control officer at the Kenai shelter, backed up Riley’s statement.

“Taxpayers’ money doesn’t go to frilly items, so toys and treats are great. They’re well appreciated,” he said.

Riley added they can never have too much stuff to give to the shelters, and Reid agreed.

“It all gets used. Since I started working here in ’82, there’s never been a time when we didn’t have animals,” he said.

Marianne Clark, an animal control officer with the Soldotna animal shelter, shared similar sentiments.

“At shelters, government money gets spent on necessities, but animals deserve something special, too, and the only way we can give them those things is if people donate them,” Clark said.

Clark said blankets — whether new or used — go a long way at the shelter.

“Old, clean blankets are always welcome. I’ve never seen a dog not use one, especially with these cold temperatures, so that they’re aren’t lying on the cold, concrete floor,” she said.

At the Extended Life sanctuary, Sue Whipp said they rely heavily on donations to care for the 45 dogs and more than 70 cats currently housed at their no-kill facility.

“It’s fantastic when people can donate. We stretch those donations are far as we can,” she said.

Whipp said her facility felt the crunch this summer when monthly donations dipped — likely a result of so many giving to support animals displaced during Hurricane Katrina, but she said she hopes local people remember their local charities during the holiday season.

“What we really need the most is materials to build doghouses, straw, spay and neuter certificates and dog bowls, especially for large dogs, but we can always store kitty litter and bulk quantities of dog food,” Whipp said.

Riley said the plan is to have everything in by Dec. 23, so all materials can be delivered before the holiday.

Supplies can be donated at drop boxes in the mail room at the Borough Building, Central Emergency Services in Soldotna or the three shelters.

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