OTHELLO – Adams County Pet Rescue employee Giselle Hernandez has warned people when they go to the kennel.
“It gets pretty loud,” Hernandez said.
Why yes, yes. The dogs at the ACPR Kennel, 1961 W. Bench Road in Othello, are happy to meet someone new – well, in fact, they’re just as happy to see the staff. Staff and visitors are greeted with a chorus of interested barks.
It is all the stronger when the kennels are full. Really full, actually, and that doesn’t even count all cats. Crates of curious and playful cats are stacked near the front door.
Director of Pet Rescue Kyya Grant said the number of animals at the shelter appears to be higher than normal, although the number fluctuates as animals are adopted and new ones arrive, especially pregnant animals.
“We had a little dog, she weighed 25 pounds, she had 12 puppies,” Grant said. “You end up with litters, pregnant moms coming in.”
“The kitten season this year has really hit us,” said Anita Plancarte, employee of the shelter.
“We do very well when we have around 40 dogs. It’s comfortable, ”Grant said. “Cats, 35 (in residence) is comfortable.
But if two or three of the cats or dogs are pregnant, all of a sudden the shelter can have a population explosion.
“I think that surprises everyone, because we’re such a small county, how many animals we have,” Grant said.
“We haven’t had that many puppies found in the middle of nowhere this year, have we? Grant asked.
“No, not this year,” Plancarte said. “Last year was the year.”
“Last year there were (puppies left in) orchards,” Hernandez said.
“Orchards, onion fields, potato fields,” said Plancarte. “This year, just a couple.”
Many animals get lost. Grant said the shelter still sees dogs and cats who ran away from their home around July 4 frightened by the fireworks. Animals that have not been spayed or neutered will also run away from the house.
“Partying,” Grant said.
Grant said she didn’t know how many animals at the ACPR were dumped. Some are more likely to have been thrown away, such as the six puppies that showed up in a field about half a mile from the shelter. (Shelter workers caught them all.) But many animals are simply found to be stray.
Some dogs are escape artists and familiar figures of the ACPR.
“We have a repeat offender book,” Grant said.
Some animals are transferred by their owners. Sometimes the owners can no longer take care of the animals, but more often it is the people who cannot take their animals with them.
“These are the people who have to move out and go into apartments, usually,” Grant said.
“Especially at the moment, when a lot of rentals don’t accept dogs or cats, and that makes things more difficult,” said Plancarte.
Giving up a pet, or even an animal that is by the side of the road, can be stressful, and not everyone handles it well.
Grant and the staff spoke about the shelter and its guests against the backdrop of chirping birds and meowing kittens. The refuge also welcomes birds and wild animals if necessary. Recently, eight barn owl chicks were discovered during the dismantling of a haystack, and they ended up at the ACPR.
To cope with the influx, the ACPR, like other shelters, is benefiting from the help of volunteers all over the place, as well as working with other organizations to house the animals that pass through its doors.
Some of the dogs and cats are housed at Coyote Ridge Correctional Facility in Connel. The barn owl babies were sent to Blue Mountain Wildlife in Pendleton, Oregon, which accepted other wild birds from the ACPR.
The network of people who volunteer to take care of the kittens stretches across the state. A volunteer driven from Duvall to transport kittens to temporary homes in Lynnwood, with the Whiskers in Need group. The volunteer network includes Hernandez and her mother, who are currently caring for eight kittens.
“Right now we have my four, her three and a bottle-fed baby,” Hernandez said. “It takes a long time, but it’s still worth it. “
The Othello region volunteer network also includes people who take in orphaned kittens who are not yet weaned.
The shelter works with PetSmart outlets in the Puget Sound area, which sponsor periodic adoption events.
“All of our cats are spayed, microchipped and everything, and they go to the adoption floors at the three PetSmart stores that we work with and are adopted,” Grant said. “I would say probably 95% (of ACPR cats) are adopted from the west side. It’s pretty cool.
The refuge is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and closed for cleaning on Mondays and Thursdays. Visit https://adamscountypetrescue.com/ for more information.