Friday, May 27, 2011

TOP STORY >> Too many cats, so little time

The Central Arkansas Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals needs the public’s support more than ever. The one-woman animal rescue is operating on borrowed time and borrowed land.

Its headquarters, a portable trailer along a quiet Lonoke County road, is home to about 15 cats and another 35 cats are in foster homes in the area.

Karen Stone, SPCA’s founder and only volunteer, says she needs to have as many cats as possible adopted right away. In the meantime, she will not take in any more animals. “I want to get them adopted out as quickly as possible,” she said.

“I’ve done all of this by myself since November,” she said.

In October, Stone was asked to remove 32 cats from her Jacksonville home where she began her cat rescue in 2008.

She adopted many of the cats from area animal shelters so they would not be euthanized. Finding permanent homes for them hasn’t been easy.

“Most people think I’m certifiable because of what I do,” Stone said.

After the city ordered her to remove the cats, she bought a $10,000 portable building, which a farmer agreed to have placed on his land temporarily.

She does not receive steady financial support. Stone pays the mortgage for the trailer. She buys the cat food and litter, and pays for veterinarian bills.

Her monthly bill for cat food can reach $65.

“I’m out every weekend doing fundraisers at Tractor Supply in Sherwood,” Stone said. She also solicits donations at the Memphis Flea Market in Jacksonville once a month.

Stone recently hired United Fence of North Little Rock, which installed an eight-foot fence around the trailer so that the cats can go outside. “It will help to cut down illness if they can go outside,” she said.

Stone is thankful for the support of many area businesses: Whit Davis donated insulation for the trailer. Lowe’s in Jacksonville gave pressed cardboard, which covers the trailer’s walls, and provided two box fans for free.

Home Depot in Cabot gave two space heaters. RSC on Main Street in Jacksonville loaned a generator for a week. Walmart in Jacksonville provides free $25 gift cards every month. Northgate Mini-Storage lets her use a unit at no charge.

The shelter does charge an adoption fee. “We do vet checks and background checks on pet owners” to ensure that the cats are sent home with responsible people, she said. Almost all of the cats are spayed and neutered.

“I feel so bad. I’ve bottle fed most of them and now they’re stuck out here,” she said. “I love the animals. I’m going to do my best to find them homes,” she said.

To make a donation to the Central Arkansas Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, send checks to P.O. Box 6232, Jacksonville, Ark., 72078, or call 501-366-1293.

Dr. Lee Misak’s office also takes donations to help pay for the SPCA’s outstanding bill there.

His office is located at 2021 N. First St., Suite 1 in Jacksonville. The phone number is 501-982-2581.