Animal dumping: Local officials say spaying, neutering would prevent problem
By Samantha Jones
In an Aug. 28 post on Lost and Found Pets of Carroll County on Facebook, a local woman writes asking for help rescuing about 20 kittens and cats that were left to starve on the outskirts of Berryville.
Linda Winter, who is involved in the rescue, said she hopes the incident will encourage people to stop dumping their animals. Winter said she's been involved with the rescue, saying the rescue team believes there are more than 20 cats and kittens involved in the dump.
"They are not feral and they have been left to starve," Winter said.
The cats were first discovered when a local woman pulled over to help a couple from Michigan who were stopped on the side of the road, Winter said.
"They were running around all skinny and everyone was horrified," Winter said. "The people who were here from Michigan actually took one of the cats back home with them."
Winter said one of the cats had what appeared to be a broken leg. The cat was named Shadow, Winter said, and she hoped her leg could be amputated. Winter said she's had lots of happy, healthy three-legged cats. Unfortunately, Shadow will never be one of those cats. Winter said Shadow was diagnosed with a broken hip and would never be able to use her back legs.
"She also had nerve damage. She was so sweet. It was just awful," Winter said. "We decided we had to put her to sleep because she was suffering."
The reason the cats got dumped is simple, Winter said.
"This whole thing goes back to spaying and neutering," Winter said. "If people would just spay and neuter their animals, this wouldn't happen."
Good Shepherd Humane Society offers a low-cost spay and neuter program, Winter said, but the organization doesn't receive any funding from the state or local government.
"I moved here in 1989 and they weren't giving them anything then," Winter said, "and they still don't give them anything."
Carroll County Judge Sam Barr said he's upset to hear people would leave animals on the side of the road to die. It would be up to the Carroll County Quorum Court to do something about it, Barr said.
"They are the lawmakers of the county. It's something that needs to be done," Barr said, "but whether they have the money, I'm not sure."
Eureka Springs animal control officer Jim Evans said he doesn't find dumped animals very often but he knows it happens often in the county. A bigger problem in Eureka Springs, Evans said, is people feeding stray cats that go on to breed "like rats." Spaying and neutering would solve both problems, Evans said.
"You have to be a conscientious pet owner," Evans said. "Unfortunately, there are people who have pets that have no business with them."
Good Shepherd Humane Society shelter manager Sandra Mittler said the shelter has taken in many animals that have been dumped over the years.
"Almost every shelter I know is working from a waiting list, because there's more need than there is space," Mittler said.
That's why dumping is such a huge problem, Mittler said.
"It is horrific on so many levels. It affects the animals. It affects the people who have picked them up," Mittler said, "and it affects the shelter. It definitely puts a strain on our resources."
Mittler said Good Shepherd's low-cost spay and neuter program features a discount just for being a Carroll County resident and an even steeper discount for low-income residents.
"It's a community problem and it's going to take the community to solve it," Mittler said.
Winter agreed, saying the cats still need foster homes, food and medical care. There are only three foster homes right now, Winter said, and that's not enough to take care of more than 20 cats and kittens. The kittens need to stay inside, Winter said, to heal from being spayed and neutered. She said there are still about six cats and kittens that need to be moved from the rescue site.
"The only reason for that is because we don't have any place to put them," Winter said. "These kitties deserve to have a good outcome."
Winter thanked Teresa Bennett and Pat Willson, who have been taking care of most of the kittens. Many people are hesitant to take on a foster kitten, Winter said, because they fear becoming attached to the animal. That's not necessarily a bad thing, Winter said.
"I would hope that's what would happen so the kittens could have a home," Winter said, "but if you're not going to do that, it would be great if you could just foster for us. We will take them back and find other homes. We'd just be really grateful if you'd foster for us for a few weeks."
To help spay and neuter all the kittens, Winter said, you can donate to Shadow's Memorial Fund at St. Francis Veterinary Clinic in Green Forest. You can also donate food at the clinic, Winter said.
"We need food and we need to get them spayed and neutered," Winter said.
If you're interested in helping the kittens, call St. Francis Veterinary Clinic at 870-423-2630 or call Winter at 870-423-4872.