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Animalkind, Inc.
P. O. Box 902, Hudson, New York 12534


Animalkind drops cat adoption fee

Animalkind drops cat adoption fee
By RICHARD ROTH 10/13/2008

HUDSON--Animalkind, the non-profit animal rescue organization across from Seventh Street Park on Warren Street, offers free cat adoptions for the remainder of 2008, beginning Friday, October 17.

This weekend will also see an informal unveiling of the mural recently painted on the front of the Animalkind building by artist Mark Wescott. And at 2 p.m. Saturday, Mario Picayo, the author of A Very Smart Cat (Una Gata Muy Intelligente) (Campanita Books, $19.99) will be at Animalkind to sign copies of his bilingual children's book, with half the proceeds from sales donated to the organization.
Animalkind, a 501 (c) (3) organization staffed almost entirely by volunteers, carries on an education program to reduce cases of abandonment and animal cruelty, an ongoing trap/neuter/release program for feral cats, and an adoption program for animals suitable for placement as house pets.

The organization usually charges a $70 adoption fee, but that will be waived for the remainder of the year because of the overwhelming number of homeless cats currently being sheltered, according to assistant executive director Chadwick Bovee. He said the organization has taken in 600 cats during the first 9 months of 2008, equal to the total number for the entire year 2007.

"The state of the economy and the foreclosure crisis have been hitting us for about a year now," said Mr. Bovee. "There are so many situations of abandonment in large numbers. A neighbor will call and report that there are suddenly a dozen animals wandering outside."

Ron Perez, president of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA, said he would not necessarily attribute the increased numbers to mortgage foreclosures, but he agreed that "there are just not enough homes out there" for abandoned cats, and that shelter space is at a premium. "We have 100 cats waiting to come in," he said.

CGHS does not charge adoption fees when placing cats in approved homes.

Animalkind hopes waiving the adoption fee will encourage more people to provide homes for the cats, and the organization also wants to get the word out that it needs the community's financial support. "We're forced to go to free adoptions, but at the same time, we're in need of more cash donations to keep ourselves afloat," Mr. Bovee said. "We need to raise a minimum of $20,000 a month just to keep the doors open."

In addition to the 140 cats currently being boarded at the Warren Street building, Animalkind feeds and monitors several colonies of feral cats.

Feral cats--those born outdoors and never tamed, or those who shun human contact after being abandoned--have an important role to play in a river town like Hudson, according to Animalkind Executive Director Katrin Hecker. "We take care of the cats and also the community," said Ms. Hecker. "It's important to have feral cats: without outdoor cats Hudson would be overrun by rats and rodents. But at the same time, we want to control the numbers."

When neighbors report sighting a colony of feral cats, Animalkind traps the animals and brings them in for spaying, neutering and vaccinations, then releases them back where they were found.

Arrangements are also made to see that the cats are fed by volunteers living nearby, and the colony is monitored so that any new animals that join can be trapped and neutered.

Ms. Hecker has been concerned with feral cats since she came to Hudson in 1995, and Animalkind was incorporated in 2000.

"It's all hardcore cases we have here, abandoned, abused and rescue animals," said Ms. Hecker. "We work with the State Police on abandonment and cruelty cases."
There are also around 30 feral cats at the shelter who are old or injured or blind and couldn't be released back to live outdoors, according to Ms. Hecker. "They're hiding," she said, "but they live well with the others."

Even feral cats are placed occasionally, Ms. Hecker said, if "responsible outdoor situations" can be found. "We're always in need of people with horse barns who need a few feral cats," she said.
The socialized cats Animalkind places in foster homes for the remainder of the year will have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies and distemper, and implanted with a microchip. They will also come with a month's free health insurance.

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Animalkind Inc.is a not-for-profit welfare, protection, rescue, rights organization dedicated to the  compassionate care and humane population control of abandoned, feral and stray cats in Hudson, New York (Columbia County) and the surrounding area.  We promote non-lethal  prevention of an unwanted litter or litters of kittens through trap, spay, neuter, release (return), (tnr, TNR).  An altered cat or kitten is released into a managed colony. Felines living in such colonies are assured kind daily care.  Adoption to  homes providing love and care for cats and kittens is encouraged.   We also provide low or no cost spaying and neutering assistance to low income pet owners and help increase public awareness and education through the media, special events, and publications to promote compassion, respect, and kindness towards all animals.

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