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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Animal Welfare Center Flooded with Puppies

The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center has been offering a weeklong special on dog adoptions, which ends Saturday, but the half-price offer hasn’t stopped the number of homeless pets from soaring at the facility.

The center accepts strays and unwanted dogs and cats and tries to find them homes, either on the island or stateside through the Pets from Paradise program. Usually the tide of animals coming in and going out is about even, according to Melissa Peiffer, the adoption and rescue coordinator. But in the last week, the number of animals – especially puppies – being brought in has far outpaced the number being adopted, and even the half-price offer hasn’t stemmed the tide.

More than two dozen puppies have been brought in in recent weeks, AWC manager Moises Carmona said Friday, About 70 canines were housed at the shelter Friday, he said, with three puppies to a cage. There’s also 19 cats in the facility, he added. Each time a person walked into the kennel area the puppies – in every conceivable shape and size and hair length and hair color – bounded to the front of their cages to poke out a nose and sniff the newcomer, eager to play. It was enough that even a hard-bitten, veteran news reporter was forced to go "Ooohh!"

Too often its a case of an animal owner not bothering to get his or her dog spayed or neutered. Then, when the dogs do what dogs do, the owner is faced with an unwanted litter of puppies which it brings to the shelter.

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"The solution is for the owners to get their animals spayed or neutered," Carmona said.

Faced with the unprecedented pile of puppies, the shelter cut the $100 adoption fee in half. And it’s a bargain, Peiffer said. For $50 the person gets an animal companion that has been spayed or neutered, de-wormed, and even has a microchip the size of a grain of rice inserted between the shoulder blades, which provides positive identification if the animal ever gets lost ands is turned back in to the shelter.

"If you paid for all these things separately it would cost about $400, Carmona said. "There’s no excuse to not have your dog neutered."

Some of the plethora of pooches will be ion display Saturday on the Christiansted boardwalk, as the annual Krewe de Barkus pet parade steps off. The AWC will have a table on the boardwalk where people can look over some of the center’s pets, pick one out and fill out the adoption papers, Peiffer said. The annual parade begins at 2 p.m.

All those mouths to feed can cost a lot of money, and an event next Friday aims to help pay for all that kibble – and all the other myriad expenses that come in running the only animal rescue shelter on the island. The annual Fur Ball fundraiser will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Reminisce Restaurant in Queens Quarters. Tickets are $100 each, and the event will feature live music and an auction.

The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with adoptions beginning at noon each day. Further information on the center, the parade or the Fur Ball can be obtained by calling 778-1650.

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The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center has been offering a weeklong special on dog adoptions, which ends Saturday, but the half-price offer hasn't stopped the number of homeless pets from soaring at the facility.

The center accepts strays and unwanted dogs and cats and tries to find them homes, either on the island or stateside through the Pets from Paradise program. Usually the tide of animals coming in and going out is about even, according to Melissa Peiffer, the adoption and rescue coordinator. But in the last week, the number of animals – especially puppies – being brought in has far outpaced the number being adopted, and even the half-price offer hasn't stemmed the tide.

More than two dozen puppies have been brought in in recent weeks, AWC manager Moises Carmona said Friday, About 70 canines were housed at the shelter Friday, he said, with three puppies to a cage. There's also 19 cats in the facility, he added. Each time a person walked into the kennel area the puppies – in every conceivable shape and size and hair length and hair color – bounded to the front of their cages to poke out a nose and sniff the newcomer, eager to play. It was enough that even a hard-bitten, veteran news reporter was forced to go "Ooohh!"

Too often its a case of an animal owner not bothering to get his or her dog spayed or neutered. Then, when the dogs do what dogs do, the owner is faced with an unwanted litter of puppies which it brings to the shelter.

"The solution is for the owners to get their animals spayed or neutered," Carmona said.

Faced with the unprecedented pile of puppies, the shelter cut the $100 adoption fee in half. And it's a bargain, Peiffer said. For $50 the person gets an animal companion that has been spayed or neutered, de-wormed, and even has a microchip the size of a grain of rice inserted between the shoulder blades, which provides positive identification if the animal ever gets lost ands is turned back in to the shelter.

"If you paid for all these things separately it would cost about $400, Carmona said. "There's no excuse to not have your dog neutered."

Some of the plethora of pooches will be ion display Saturday on the Christiansted boardwalk, as the annual Krewe de Barkus pet parade steps off. The AWC will have a table on the boardwalk where people can look over some of the center's pets, pick one out and fill out the adoption papers, Peiffer said. The annual parade begins at 2 p.m.

All those mouths to feed can cost a lot of money, and an event next Friday aims to help pay for all that kibble – and all the other myriad expenses that come in running the only animal rescue shelter on the island. The annual Fur Ball fundraiser will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Reminisce Restaurant in Queens Quarters. Tickets are $100 each, and the event will feature live music and an auction.

The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with adoptions beginning at noon each day. Further information on the center, the parade or the Fur Ball can be obtained by calling 778-1650.