Dogs and cats have several friends in the Sedalia area; Animal FAIR — Foundation for Animals in Risk — goes the extra mile to help out the area’s furry friends.
The no-kill, non-profit rescue organization was recognized by Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher on Sept. 6 with a proclamation declaring October 2015 as Animal Month in the City of Sedalia.
At present, Animal FAIR has five small dogs, 20 adults cats and 50 kittens in local foster homes waiting for adoption.
“It was started by a group of people in the fall of 2003,” Animal FAIR President Nancy Curtiss said Wednesday.
Curtiss became a member in 2004 when she adopted her cat Miss Sally. She now fosters cats and kittens and often takes in tiny kittens who need to be bottle-fed.
“You have to feed them, depending on the size, anywhere from every two to four hours,” Curtiss noted. “When they reach 4 to 5 weeks, I can put them in there with soft food. I don’t sleep well at night, so I’m an ideal one for bottle feeding in the middle of the night.”
Animal FAIR Cat Director is Melissa Gettis, and Brenda Hunton is the organization’s dog director. The organization’s foster homes treat their cats and dogs as their own, providing veterinarian visits, shots, spays and neuters plus much more, but there are always needs.
“The biggest thing that we need is, we’d love to have fosters, but we need people to go to adoption events, and help with computer skills,” Curtiss said.
At present they need someone to take photos primarily of cats so they can be uploaded to the Animal FAIR website.
“The dogs do OK, we have two ladies who do that,” Curtiss added. “We are so far behind on our website with cats, it’s unbelievable.”
She added that the group is always needing supplies such as cat litter, dog and cat food and dog toys and blankets. Curtiss often goes to garage sales to find pet carriers for the animals.
“Basically what has kept us going to a large extent, from when it first started, was an elderly couple in Warrensburg,” she said. “(They) had three cats, so they gave us a monetary donation to take in the cats. We have kept them in what we call sanctuary, in someone’s home. Two of them have passed away and as far as I know the last one is still in someone’s home.”
Curtiss said people may not understand why they don’t give cats and dogs away. Giving the animal away isn’t feasible because Animal FAIR spends time and money looking after their furry wards, making sure they are healthy.
“I tell them I’m not wealthy, I can’t afford to vet it for you and then give it to you,” she added. “They don’t realize sometimes what it costs.”
Kittens are adopted out for a fee of $105; if it’s a special breed such as a Scottish Fold, Persian or Siamese that’s been declawed the adoption fee is $130. Dog adoption costs depend on age, condition and breed and run from $125 to $175.
The fee includes testing, in cats, for Feline Leukemia and/or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or FIV, a spay or neuter, two five-way shots, a rabies shot and micro-chipping.
“Out of curiosity I asked the vet, that we use, what it would cost to vet these same animals at full price, and it would run a good $225 or more,” Curtiss said. “That’s not counting the fact that we are buying litter, cat and kitten food.”
If an animal gets an upper respiratory or urinary infection or an eye problem, an antibiotic or medication will need to be purchased also.
“We are taking care of it,” she said. “We had a meeting last night and someone said ‘should there be a limit to the length of time you have an animal in your system.’ I looked at her and said ‘this is a no-kill, what would you figure on doing with it if we didn’t keep it in the system?
“We have one, his name is Bill Bo, he’s been with us since he was a kitten, and he’s over 7-years-old,” she added. “He’s a good guy. He had an eye problem when he was a small kitten. By the time we got him, he had healed up … but he’s cross-eyed.”
Curtiss said Hunton has adopted out close to 50 dogs this year.
“Brenda has had really good luck with her dogs,” she said. “She’s been at this since a year ago April, and she’s only had two or three come back.”
Animal FAIR accepts pets back sometimes due to unforeseen medical conditions in the animal, but Curtiss added they frown on people who want to return a pet only because they are tired of caring for it.
“If someone adopts out a cat, we tell them if your whole life goes south don’t send it to a shelter,” Curtiss said. “Call us and we’ll see if we can (take it back). Or if they know someone that would be a really good person for that animal, we have no problem with you transferring, but please don’t take it to a shelter.”
Those interested in adopting a cat or dog from Animal FAIR must first fill out an application. Once the application is approved they are given a contract that states the animal is the person’s responsibility and must be taken care of properly.
Animal FAIR potential cat adoptees travel to Petco in Lee’s Summit each Saturday, while dog adoptees go to Tractor Supply in Sedalia at designated times.
For more information on adopting a cat, call Curtiss at 826-5680; for dog adoption, call Hunton at 596-4755. To volunteer or to donate, email Animal FAIR at [email protected] or call the above phone numbers. To see animals up for adoption, visit animalfair.petfinder.com. Animal FAIR also meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at Denny’s, 2401 W. Broadway Blvd.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.