Have A Heart Pet Shelter gets calls weekly from people concerned about the pets they see throughout our community that are underfed, have inadequate housing, tied to a tree or running loose chasing livestock or annoying their neighbors. The people making these calls assume we can fix all this. We are a Shelter; we are not animal control, and we have no jurisdiction in animal abuse or neglect. We do try to help pet owners who financially are having a hard difficulty providing for their pets. Data USA reports there are 6,780 households in Marion County and 18.2% (1234) of them are living at the poverty level. The American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) estimates the number of pets per household at 1.6 dogs and 1.8 cats. If you compute those numbers, it estimates there are 10,848 dogs and 12,204 cats in Marion County (23,052). If you multiply that by the poverty level, at least 4195 pets are living in poverty.
We would much rather see a pet remain in their home than abandoned or surrendered to a Shelter. Programs we currently have in place for pet owners at the Poverty Level include:
- The Low Cost Spay and Neuter clinic financial assistance program for households at the Federal Poverty Level. With proof of income, we will provide assistance to spay or neuter 3 cats, 2 dogs or 1 dog and 2 cats annually for $20 per pet. This funding is available only if we have donations to support it. Currently funding is available for the April 5-7 clinic for which we are currently scheduling animals. If you are not at the poverty level, the cost is $55 for a cat and $80 for a dog up to 70lbs. This covers the surgery and a rabies vaccine.
- The Pet Food Assistance Program is also available for households at the poverty level. We go to the Yellville Food Closet to distribute supplemental dog and cat food when we have packaged food available. We repackage food that is donated from damaged, short dated or opened bags from Walmart, All Pets and Equine and pet owners whose pets have passed away or do not like the food they purchased. On the days we go, we often distribute over one hundred packages of pet food. You may also contact the Shelter directly and complete a poverty level form for assistance. The only thing we require is that you have your pets sterilized within three months of starting the program and we will help you get that done at one of our clinics with financial assistance.
Currently we have several pets at the Shelter available for adoption that were found underweight. Some have put on weight and are ready for adoption and others are on a feeding plan to increase their weight. Stop by Thursday thru Saturday from 9-3 to meet our pets. We have awesome pets waiting for that special person to come in and adopt them.
Our featured dog this week is Boo Bear. He is a young (5-6 month) Husky/Shepherd mix that was found as a stray on the highway in danger of being hit. He has been in a Foster Home for the past month and his foster says he is an extremely smart boy. He is quickly being housebroken and get along well with other dogs. If you would like to meet him, please call for an appointment since he would need to be brought in by the foster.