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Pet ‘re-homing’ assistance offered locally |

One of the most difficult decisions a pet owner must make is to relinquish ownership of a much-loved pet to someone else. A new change in lifestyles, such as moving or divorce, evictions, the inability to afford to feed and provide for the pet, when a person goes into assisted living, or a death of the owner are the most common reasons needed to surrender their fur baby.

A new program, “Rehoming Assistance for Kerr County Pets,” was recently launched by Kerrville Pets Alive to help with the rehoming of pets rather than seeing them surrendered to animal control or other animal shelters.

“We get emails, texts and phone calls from people in need,” said Karen Guerriero, one of the founders of Kerrville Pets Alive. “They love their pets and want help to connect with possible new owners. We want to let them help decide where their animal will go.”

The rehoming program also works with Peterson Hospice to help families of persons in hospice care to let them know they have options if they need to find a new home for a pet.

“Knowing their pet has some place to go is comforting to the person in hospice care and to their family,” Guerriero added. “We try to educate people to start thinking about it before the last minute.”

Information about the animal to be rehomed can be posted on the Pets Alive website.

“We recommend a small re-homing fee be paid to the former pet owner, if possible, which provides some personal engagement with the new owner. We encourage people to post a photo of the pet, veterinary records, behaviors of the animals, whether house-trained, whether they get along with other pets or get along with children,” Guerriero said.

She said some animals are easy to rehome, but some are more difficult to place, especially pit bulls and pit-mix dogs, as well as other larger mixed breeds.

Kerrville Pets Alive was officially formed in 2019 when Kerr County Commissioners’ Court asked them to find a solution to the overcrowding and euthanizing issues faced by the county at that time. Guerriero had worked with a similar program in Houston before moving to the Hill Country with her family.

Once the program was organized and received 501(c)3 non-profit status, the support from the community has been growing, with many local businesses, foundations, and other groups holding pet food drives and other events to support the organization.

A trailer was donated to the organization about six months ago, and they had it wrapped with the logo and take the trailer to events all over the area.

“It’s a moving billboard for us,” Guerriero said. “It gets us lots of attention.”

KPA sponsors “pet micro-chipping” events in conjunction with other events around the community to provide pet owners the opportunity to have their pet chipped, which allows for identification of the owner if the animal is lost.

They have also sponsored vaccination clinics for rabies and sometimes pay the costs of veterinarians for animals, using donations to KPA.

In their office on Clay Street they have dog and cat food and a variety of other supplies needed for pets in need. Information on rehoming pets and on arranging for spaying or neutering pets, other medical needs and info on lost and found pets is available.

“We can also scan a pet for a microchip at the office,” Guerriero said.

The local “Big Fix” program has also partnered with KPA to address the feral cat problems in the county.

“Our community is overwhelmed with cats because new housing developments and business development have flushed them out,” she said, “so we are trying to pull in every entity that can help us with the cats.”

Guerriero said Pets Alive also works with people who can’t pay the pet deposit on their rental residences and said that rental property owners are getting more restrictive on types and sizes of pets allowed in rentals in this area.

“We also see a lot of people who have pets who need medical care and they are not able to afford the care and they are looking for an alternative to surrendering the pet to animal control.”

Kerr County Animal Control currently is the only intake facility available because other shelters are often full, Guerriero added. KCAC is not a no-kill shelter, so when no other option is available, animals must be euthanized.

In recent weeks the shelter has been overflowing with pets that have been picked up by animal control officers and others that have been surrendered.

KPA has partnered with KCAC recently to highlight overcrowding at the animal control facility when a large group of dogs were seized. KPA volunteers moved several animals to the Hill Country Youth Event Center’s 4-H facility and worked with the animals for several days until they could be relocated back to the animal control location.

“Our main focus is to support the efforts of KCAS and facilitate the rescue and adoption of the animals impounded there,” Guerriero said. “They are short-staffed and have limited resources. We are constantly trying to create other solutions for animals that might otherwise end up being euthanized.”

Guerriero said KPA representatives were asked to provide input on the November 2022 bond proposal issue to build a new animal control facility.

“We were included on a trip to Atascosa County to look at their facility,” she said, “and we have been working with Peter Lewis, the county’s architect, who is designing the new proposed facility.”

Guerriero also helped with the public tours conducted last fall of all of the county’s proposed facility upgrades to be included in the bond election in November.

“Most people on the tours agreed that the current animal control facility needs to be replaced,” she said.

Plans are in the works for KPA to sponsor a “Pet Fair” in the fall to provide veterinary help, vaccines, microchipping and other services available to attendees. They provide free microchipping year-around at animal control for owners who reclaim their pets or pet owners around the county who want to have their pets chipped.

They also help with adoption fees, if needed, and supplies plus provide transportation for rescued animals to other non-profit facilities. KPA sometimes sponsors spay-neuter for other non-profits who take the animals.

“We have an incredible group of volunteers who dedicate their time to the organization,” Guerriero said, “and we are available to help all the rescue partners in this area.”

Donations can be mailed to 317 Sidney Baker So., Suite 400, PMB 345, Kerrville, TX 78029 or can be dropped off at the office at 414 Clay St, Mon-Fri from 9 am to 4 pm All donations are tax-deductible.

Only 14 tickets were left at the end of last week for the KPA fundraiser on Oct. 1.

The “Animal Welfare Gala,” the first fundraiser of this kind for the organization, will be at the Museum of Western Art. Tickets to the gala can be purchased at the office or on their website

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