SIERRA VISTA — Mavis is waiting to be adopted.

And she’s not alone.

The female pit bull mix is one of more than 90 dogs that animal control officers and volunteers at Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center hope will find a home during an adoption special currently underway for dogs and cats.

“We’re at capacity right now, and are getting to the point where we’re going to have to make tough decisions,” animal control supervisor Arleen Garcia said Thursday. “At this time, we have no more adoption kennels available. We have a few isolation, or quarantine, kennels for incoming animals, but if more keep coming in, we’re simply out of space.”

Garcia advises people who are thinking about bringing pets to the shelter to wait for a while, at least until more space is available through adoptions and fostering.

Meanwhile, the shelter is reaching out to rescue groups and other animal control facilities for help with the crowded situation at Nancy J. Brua, said Coralee Knippel, the shelter’s kennel technician.

“We work with local animal shelters and rescue organizations all the time, and have a great relationship with them,” Knippel said. “Tombstone Animal Shelter helps us if they’re not full, as well as Border Animal Rescue, Rescue Adoption Volunteers, and there are others. This is all about the animals and finding forever homes.”

As of Thursday, the shelter had 121 animals waiting to be adopted. Out of those, 91 were in the shelter, with five cats at PetSmart ready to adopt, along with additional dogs and cats in foster homes.

In December, the Huachuca City Animal Shelter was forced to close because of an electrical problem and structural concerns. Faced with an emergency relocation issue for those animals, the town reached out to Sierra Vista for help, and the shelter agreed to accept Huachuca City’s animals. Five dogs and six cats are now housed there while town officials in Huachuca City work to decide what to do about the situation with their shelter.

Meanwhile, an official intergovernmental agreement regarding the temporary arrangement between the two communities was approved at a Huachuca City council meeting Thursday evening.

“While the situation in Huachuca City has contributed to some of our space issues, we’re happy that we’re in a position to help them,” Garcia said. “But now, we’re turning to the community for help.”

Garcia urges anyone who is considering a dog or cat to stop by the shelter and look at the animals there.

“Also, anyone who might be interested in adopting, but is a little unsure about making that commitment, may want to consider our ‘foster to adopt’ program, which gives you up to a 30-day trial period before you actually adopt.”

Garcia also encourages the community to consider fostering an animal until they’re adopted, which is another option that helps shift the strain off the shelter.

Linda Coonts, founder of the nonprofit group Friends of SV Animal Shelter is currently fostering Stevie, a small female dog that had been housed at Nancy J. Brua.

“Arleen is a master at finding great foster families,” Coonts said, laughing. “Stevie is my sixth foster, and I tend to keep all of them. And I have a cat that started out as a foster.”

While fostering is intended as a temporary arrangement, Coonts admits to being a failure when it comes to the “temporary” component.

“You don’t have to keep the animals you foster. I’m just a sucker. Once they come into my home, we’re family.”


The following Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center adoption specials are happening now:

Cats — A $25 adoption fee includes the spay or neuter, microchip and registration fee, first round of kitty vaccinations and a veterinary exam.

Dogs — A $50 adoption fee includes the spay or neuter, microchip and registration fee, a combination vaccination of parvo, distemper, leptospirosis and bordetella, veterinary exam and a one-year city license. Pairs can be adopted at a special rate of two for $75.

Nancy J. Brua is located at 6799 E. Highway 90 in Sierra Vista. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. For info, call 520-458-4151. Also, stop by PetSmart and take a look at the five cats the Nancy J. Brua shelter has there. All five are ready to adopt for the $25 special adoption fee. As of Thursday, 27 cats were at the shelter, waiting to be adopted.

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