Rescuers of felines see flood of abandoned pets (Beacon News 6/16/09)
Rescuers of felines see flood of abandoned pets
June 16, 2009
By DAVID GARBE For The Beacon News
Too many stray cats, not enough homes -- this is the never-ending
predicament for animal shelters and animal lovers everywhere.
With most kittens born in the spring and summer, the problem often
peaks around this time of year. Local shelters take in hundreds of
cats every summer, and those that don't get adopted soon are often
killed to make space for the steady flow of new arrivals.
This summer is shaping up to be more difficult than usual, said
Marsha Teckenbrock, president of Homes for Endangered and Lost
The group consists of volunteers who foster stray animals in their
homes until they can find adopters. Last year, they found permanent
homes for about 500 cats and 200 dogs.
"Right now, we have a lot of people surrendering cats," she said.
"We're seeing people adopting kittens and then returning them a few
The hard economic climate is a factor, she said, but in many cases
people simply decide they no longer want to own the pet.
Dogs don't seem to fit the trend for some reason, Teckenbrock said,
as the flow of dogs in and out of HELP foster homes has remained
People often bring animals to HELP because, unlike most shelters,
they don't euthanize animals except in cases of terminal illnesses or
dangerous aggression. But with only 25 foster homes, the group has
already reached its limits.
"Adoptions have been short, so we're a little bit worried because we can only take in as many as we adopt out," she said. "We have a waiting list for adult cats right now, because we just don't have enough room."
Last weekend, HELP hosted its first cat adoption event of the summer, bringing about 40 cats and kittens to the community room of National City Bank in St. Charles.
Having a roomful of cats to see and play with makes it easier for people to fall in love with that one special cat, volunteers said.
They were pleased with the turnout: about 50 people came through, adopting seven cats and putting several more on hold so that other family members could see the potential new pet on another day.
Andrea Bryant, of West Chicago, and her daughter Ashley came to the event looking to fill the hole left behind by the death of their previous cat.
"It's been over a year now since she passed away, and we're finally ready to get a new cat," Bryant said.
After playing with a whole family of kittens in an enclosure, she and Ashley settled on one named Cinnamon.
"I love her personality. She's so spunky and playful," Bryant said.
But for every cat that found a new home that day, three more remained in their cages, waiting behind the heartshaped cards bearing their names and short descriptions of their personalities.
There was Smudge, a friendly cat who will sit near laps,
but not on them. Across the way was Lorelei, a shy young
cat who has been waiting for a perfect owner for more
than a year. And in the back was Zulu, who demonstrated
his bold nature by escaping his cage to explore the room.
To find homes for them and the long list of other pets,
Teckenbrock said HELP plans to host similar adoption events each month throughout the summer.
Cats are will be shown at the National City on East Main Street in St. Charles,
while dogs will be at the PetSmart on Randall Road in Geneva.
To find information on adopting from HELP and to see the animals available, call toll free (877) 364-2286.
• Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets
• Aurora Animal Control: www.aurorail.org/neighborhoodstandards/animalcontro
• Kane County Animal Control:
• Kendall County Animal Control:
• Anderson Animal Shelter: