***image1***Finding an owner for a pet, not a pet for an owner is the slogan of the KMC Stray Animal Facility. And they make sure they stick to their word.
Located on Pulaski Barracks, the facility constantly has pet traffic coming through. In 2005 alone, the facility saw 191 pets pass through and, to the delight of the KSAF employees, pets were adopted at a 95 percent rate.
The most fulfilling part of that adoption rate, said facility manager Brent Sweetin, was that they let the pets go knowing they were going to a good home.
The confidence that pets adopted from the facility are going to the right home comes from the in-depth application and interview process each interested owner must go through. People interested in adopting a pet have three required steps. First and foremost, an application must be filled out. This can be achieved online at kmcstrays.com or at the facility.
The application asks basic questions about the interested family.
Questions focus on children, other pets, previous pets, living area and time spent away from home.
“We are looking for the right circumstances and the perfect homes for these pets,” said Mr. Sweetin.
The facility accepts three applications per pet. The next step for interested families is making a trip to the facility to see the animal and speak with facility employees.
Mr. Sweetin alludes to the fact that the trip to the facility weighs heavily on the decision of which family will get the pet.
“You can tell honesty when you’re talking to them,” said Mr. Sweetin. “Not to mention animals will pick their owners.
“You can see the way an animal feels around a certain person,” he said.
Finally, after talking with each of the potential owners, a decision is made.
The family chosen for the pet pays an $80 adoption fee and picks up the animal. Mr. Sweetin wants to make it clear to owners that, despite the $80-dollar fee, they are not actually buying a pet. Rather, they are paying for services the pet received while at the facility.
All animals impounded at the facility receive all necessary shots, get de-wormed, get a full vet check-up, receive a microchip and get spayed or neutered.
“You are getting over $200 worth of service for $80,” said Mr. Sweetin.
The hardest part for many of the facility workers is seeing a number of pets being left behind.
“It’s always sad that animals are given to a stray facility, but I think it’s a great thing that we have this facility because we have a very good rate at getting pets into new homes,” said Elke Gundel, facility veterinarian.
The facility employees understand the numerous reasons for military owners to give up their pets, but they want owners who are thinking of impounding their pets to know what it entails.
Pets are accepted into the facility on a space available basis with strays being the top priority. Owners pay a $45 impound fee and impounding a pet will make that owner ineligible to adopt a pet from the facility in the future.
With all the ups and downs the job holds, Mr. Sweetin says the feeling of placing an animal into a loving, caring, long-term home is well worth it.