Pet adoption available in Bogalusa

Published 7:34 am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pets are available for adoption right in Bogalusa, and Kathleen Flick, vice president of the Whiskers & Wags Humane Society, wants to let everyone know the process is easier and more economical than one might think.

“I want to help make it second nature for people in the area to visit the shelter first when they want a dog,” said Flick. “Shelter dogs are great, and they do act grateful when they get a real home.

“A lot of people don’t realize that where a dog came from and who its parents were doesn’t much matter if you’re looking for a companion. Dogs live in the now, not in the past.”

Through the nonprofit organization, which expects to begin seeking its 501(c)3 designation this year, a prospective pet owner can adopt a dog for the all-inclusive fee of $90. The animals, Flick said, are spayed or neutered, wormed, treated for fleas and given all their shots.

“In addition, the dogs may be house trained and/or crate trained, and I often know something of their personalities,” she said. “We’re happy to offer advice on housetraining and pet issues and helping your new best friend adjust to its forever home.”

The basic fee for adopting a cat is $65. Those pets will be fully vetted, including a test for feline leukemia. There are also some kittens available that have had the basic shots but not the leukemia test, for a fee of $30, Pelmear said.

Locals can also adopt a cat or dog from the Magnolia Chapter of the Humane Society of Louisiana, which shows animals at PetSmart in Covington on Sundays, or adopt a dog directly from Bogalusa Animal Control for $10, after signing a spay/neuter agreement, Flick said.

Bogalusa City School Board member Adam Kemp learned about the availability of pet adoption services in the city while on a mission to have a pet kitten waiting for his daughter on Christmas morning. The Kemps’ pet cat of several years had died of natural causes, and the family decided Christmastime would be the best time to bring a new one into their home.

Kemp and his wife began looking online and filled out an application to adopt from the St. Tammany Humane Society, as that organization is in the area where he works. With the Christmas deadline drawing near and having not heard back from that humane society, Kemp turned to word of mouth.

A neighbor, Police Chief Joe Culpepper, filled Kemp in on the Whiskers & Wags Humane Society and how President Ann Pelmear has cats available for adoption in Bogalusa. Kemp’s wife spoke to Pelmear on the phone, let her know what the family was looking for, and learned several kittens of different ages were available for adoption.

The Kemps went to Palmear’s Bogalusa home and visited with her and the cats.

“We were very impressed with her passion for animals and passion to rescue animals,” Kemp said. “That was our whole goal, was to look for an animal that needed rescuing.”

After spending some time with the kittens, the choice about which one to take home was obvious, Kemp said.

“We adopted what is now my daughter’s kitten named Joy,” he said. “She’s enjoyed her ever since Christmas morning.”

Joy has fit right in with the Kemps’ two dogs. She’s generally an inside kitten, but likes spending time outside with the dogs, too, he said.

“They kind of think they’re all in the same species, I guess, because the dogs took right to her,” he said.

Before he took Joy home, Palmear, who knows each animal personally, told Kemp about the kitten’s history. The mother gave birth to a litter of kittens at The Daily News office, and Palmear, after working for six days the week of Thanksgiving, was able to rescue all of them from under the sidewalk where they were living.

The kitten, Kemp said, is extremely friendly, and that’s thanks to Palmear’s efforts.

“She spent a lot of time with them after she caught them, taming them and getting them used to humans,” he said.

Animals, Kemp said, can bring much joy and meaning to a person’s life, and he thinks more people should consider adopting. Bogalusa, he said, has an abundance of stray dogs and cats in need of a loving home.

Flick said adoption helps “end future generations of unwanted animals,” since, as required by state law, the animals are spayed or neutered before being taken home by their new owner, with a few exceptions, including the animal being too young.

“There are so many, many unwanted litters at the shelter every year,” she said. “A lot of the puppies die of parvovirus and other diseases, and few are adopted. It’s very sad.”

Adoption also saves both the lives of animals and taxpayer expense, Flick said. More than 500 dogs were killed at Bogalusa Animal Control last year, with the city also paying to employ two animal control officers, provide two trucks and maintain the shelter building, among other expenses.

Whiskers & Wags has both cats and dogs available, in all types of personalities, sizes and ages, “from young kittens to mature, but not old, cats and dogs,” Flick said.

Each Saturday from about 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Bogalusa Tractor Supply, Whiskers & Wags offers animals for adoption. Flick brings several dogs from Bogalusa Animal Control, Pelmear brings cats and kittens.

Flick also has several dogs that were either strays or left behind by renters, and the organization takes pictures of dogs at Bogalusa Animal Control and posts them about once a week on shelters/LA301.html.

Once the perfect pet is selected the process is to fill out an adoption contract and pay the fee, Flick said. The timeframe for taking the animal home will depend on if it needs to be spayed or neutered.

For more information about Whiskers & Wags, call 732-7771.