SIERRA VISTA — Although an ongoing canine parvovirus outbreak is currently forcing the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center in Sierra Vista to temporarily suspend animal adoptions, as well as intakes, they will still participate in this weekend’s AdoptaFest pet adoption event.
“We definitely are going to have a presence there,” said Arleen Garcia, the city’s animal center supervisor.
But instead of dogs, the shelter will have feline friends looking for new homes. For the first time, the shelter is working to have the cats ready for same-day adoptions by making sure they are already fixed and chipped.
“We have a plan to make sure they are comfortable, we’re going to just bring a handful of kitties at first and then rotate them out during the event, take some back and bring some others,” she said.
Factors like heat and tolerance will factor into how long the cats will be kept at the event.
“If they are doing well, they can stay as long as it takes, but if they are getting tired, we will rotate them out,” Garcia said, noting volunteers will help facilitate those transfers.
With the center still dealing with the ramifications of a recent parvo outbreak, Garcia said they decided it was best not to bring any of their dogs this time.
“We don’t want to risk it,” she said. “We really want to make sure nobody else has caught the virus.”
But those hoping to adopt a pooch, whether it’s a puppy, senior dog, or somewhere inbetween, will still have many other rescues and shelters bringing their best boys and girls to Cochise County’s largest pet adoption event, said organizer George Broxton.
About 10-12 local shelters and rescues will be on hand, as well as several local bands, food vendors, and lots of activities for kids. A fundraiser raffle will also benefit Friends of the SV Animal Shelter, which works with many local rescues and shelters, Broxton said.
The idea, Broxton said, is to create an event where people can go and see all the different pets who need homes, raise awareness about issues like spaying/neutering and vaccinations, all while having a good time.
One of the shelters that will be in attendance, Rescue Adoption Volunteers, will have at least 10 dogs there, said volunteer Sheila Dahoney.
“We love it,” she said. “People know this is coming, so they will wait, because they have a better chance of finding their new best friend because of all the shelters and rescues involved.”
Dahoney said in previous years they have adopted anywhere from 15 to 20 dogs or more.
“I actually had to call our board members and have them bring more dogs out,” she said. “It was awesome; people are so excited to be there.”
She said their group will have mostly puppies and smaller dogs, but they are still deciding exactly which animals will be featured, and what the adoption rates will be.
Cats from the Brua shelter will be $50 and come fixed, microchipped, vaccinated and have a free veterinary visit included in the fee, Garcia said. All the shelters and rescues at the event will have different fee schedules, she added.
Anyone looking for a cat from the city shelter will need to verify they are able to provide a good home. If they rent, that means having landlord approval and pet deposits already taken care of. Also, any other pets in the home must be up to date on rabies vaccinations.
“If everything is good, they should be able to take the kitty home the same day,” she said. “Some people think we’re a little too strict, but it truly is better this way.
“We try to work it out as best as we can,” she added. “We want them to go to homes, but we want them to go to good, responsible homes.”
If a potential adopter needs time to find the needed paperwork or pay a deposit to their landlord, the shelter works to hold the animals until their new home is ready for them, she said.
Broxton said he wanted to do something to address the problem of overcrowded shelters. While the focus is often on getting pets in good homes, he said the benefit goes both ways.
“When you have a pet, that changes a lot for you — I know it did for me,” he said. “I have responsibilities now. I have an animal that depends on me, that loves me.”
He encouraged everyone to attend Saturday’s event, even if they’re not sure they are looking for a new friend.
“Come on out, bring your pets, see what all the local shelters are doing and have some fun,” he said.