FARMINGTON — Dogs and cats in the Parkland without a home have for years been able to find a temporary shelter providing them love and care at the Farmington Pet Adoption Center.
Still, the need for financial and volunteer support continues unabated, according to volunteer coordinator and community liaison, Dawn McKinney.
FPAC is a limited access, no-kill shelter providing lifesaving care and treatment to abandoned and unwanted pets in Missouri’s Parkland.
“Our goal is to find loving homes for every adoptable pet and strive to reduce pet overpopulation, expose and assist in the prosecution of pet cruelty and to educate the public on pet care,” said McKinney.
That’s a big — and expensive — job and a constant challenge for the center.
“Right now we’re at full capacity and we hate to turn animals away,” continued McKinney. “We have taken in animals from all over east Missouri. FPAC even takes in dogs and cats from the local pounds when they get overwhelmed so they won’t be destroyed. Right now, though, we have no more room.”
FPAC is attempting to make its presence in the Parkland better known, to increase its visibility.
“Did you notice the billboard sign outside our building?” McKinney asked. “The billboard is large, but our sign is very small — it’s easy to overlook when drivers are driving south on Highway 67. We need to get a larger sign. It might help bring people in to provide a home for a dog or cat. If they don’t adopt, maybe they’ll be led to make a financial donation or become a volunteer. We really need both.
She says that, despite the challenges, FPAC has made progress and lots of improvements that include new pens, a dog run and an attractive sitting area in the back of the facility created by Boy Scout Jason Scruggs as his Eagle project.
“And we’ve done that with no government subsidies,” said McKinney. “We depend solely on donations. Even with everything that’s been done lately we still have serious electrical issues at the center and other maintenance chores that need to be done. We could really use some people who know how to do things like this to volunteer their time.”
On top of that, there’s taking care of things that are required of the center by the government.
“We need to fix the pens and apply water sealant to the new dog run, something mandated by the Department of Agriculture,” said McKinney.
Even if you don’t have any specialized skills, FPAC needs volunteers to walk dogs, answer phones, take pictures of the animals, work in the thrift store and help with special projects.
FPAC Manager Jodi Wells and Assistant Manager Laura Weston know better than anyone the magnitude of the problem facing the shelter. It’s more expensive than most people would ever imagine.
“Right now we have 50 dogs and 85 cats at the center,” said Wells. “Five are out on foster care.”
It costs FPAC $250 a week to feed the dogs in their care, $145 for the cats.
“Then there’s the veterinarian bill that runs anywhere from $500 to $1,000 every week,” said Weston. “And that doesn’t include medicines, vet supplies or the electric or water bills.”
McKinney said there’s no way FPAC could survive without its volunteers and the center has some great ones.
“I worked 38 years in the workforce and I’ve never seen the dedication of the volunteers at FPAC,” she said. They even use their own vehicles to attend adoption fairs and take pets to the veterinarian.”
One of the main sources of income for FPAC is the in-house thrift store run by Manager Cash Fuller. He moved to the Parkland from California and soon became a volunteer at the center.
“Have you recently had a yard sale? he asked. “Chances are, not everything sold. Load your leftovers up and bring them to us. We will put them in our thrift store and all the proceeds go directly to the animals. We can even give you a receipt for your taxes at the end of the year. If you don’t have anything to donate but love searching for that hidden treasure, check out our thrift store. We have everything from dresses to jeans, lamps to TV’s, and tables to dishes. It is like visiting hundreds of yard sales, all in the same place.”
Donations are also raised through special events and fundraisers like a recent Spay-ghetti dinner with proceeds going to spaying and neutering adopted pets at the center and open houses where door prizes and thrift shop discounts are offered on items.
Of course, arguably the best way you can help FPAC is by adopting a dog or cat and giving them a good home.
According to the FPAC website (www.farmingtonpet.org), between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters. Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals who haven’t been adopted.
The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, breed rescue group, or the local animal control agency, you’ll help save the lives of two animals — the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of space you helped free up.
Not only will you save the life of a dog or cat, but you’ll also get a healthy pet, save money and you won’t be supporting puppy mills.
The following items are required for all adoptions at FPAC:
• You must be at 21 years of age.
• You must have current ID with your current address (or a bill with current address).
• You must have the knowledge and consent of your landlord.
• You must be able and willing to spend the time and money to properly care for your pet. This includes having all necessary medical treatment.
The fee for adopting a kitten under 6 months of age is $100. The fee for a cat 6 months to 5 years is $75. Cats over 5 years of age are $50. There is a discount for adopting more than one cat or kitten. The adoption fee includes: Spay / neuter, at least one 5-in-1 vaccination and treatment for intestinal parasites. If the cat or kitten is over 12 weeks of age, he or she has received a rabies vaccination and has been tested for feline leukemia and FIV.
The fee for adopting a puppy under 6 months of age is $150. The fee for a dog 6 months to 5 years is $100. Dogs over 5 years of age are $75. There is a discount for adopting more than one dog or puppy. The adoption fee includes: Spay / neuter, at least one 7-in-1 vaccination, and treatment for intestinal parasites. If the puppy is 6 months of age, he or she has received a rabies vaccination and heartworm treatment. Dogs 1 year and over have been tested for heartworm infestation.
Adoption and thrift store hours are Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. FPAC is closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.
The center is located on Highway 67, approximately 1.5 miles south of the Highway 221 exit in Farmington.
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 114 or email@example.com