MAKING AN IMPACT: Improving the lives of homeless pets in Freeborn County

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:33 AM CST
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ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) – There are thousands of animals across southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa that don’t have a place to call home or a family to love.

The Humane Society of Freeborn County works every day to change that, while also helping minimize the number of furry friends roaming and reproducing on the streets.

On average, the shelter houses 100 cats and 15 dogs, although right now there around 25 dogs due to a backflow of animals.

While very loving, most of them come from a difficult past.

“There are plenty of animals here, great animals, and they need homes.”

Daci Kermes, Volunteer and Adopter, Humane Society of Freeborn County

According to the humane society, nearly 800 cats and dogs have been adopted since January 1, 2021.

“They don’t need a great story to be a great family animal. It’s how you take care of your animal,” said Daci Kermes.

Daci is one of those adopters. She’s also been volunteering at the shelter for about two months.

“I get to help with dog chores, and I get to spend a lot of time with the cats and walk the dogs.”

She says volunteers play a vital role in the animals’ lives during the in-between period of shelter life and a forever home.

“It’s very different with both. With the cats, you come in and it’s really just relaxed and they’re social. With the dogs, they’re so individual because you spend time with them individually, and they all have different needs.”

For years, the nonprofit has made it a priority to help keep the stray pet population under control through its ‘Vet Day’ program.

“We will probably do 7 to 12 each day here,” David Wessling, Veterinarian with South Central Pet Care said.

Every Wednesday for the last three years, Dr. Wessling has volunteered his lunch break from South central Pet Care to provide neutering services, vaccinations, and microchipping for male cats for $25.

“These are animals that are out in the streets and if they keep having more kittens and/or puppies then we have more population to worry about,” Dr. Wessling said. “It’s a way to give them a nice life, preferably in a home, but we won’t have an abundance of kittens to manage later on.”

There have been at least 261 cats neutered so far this year, which is up slightly from 2022.

Wessling added, “I think the shelter does a great job with finding homes for all these pets that need homes and so I just want to do a part to help keep them healthy so they can find good homes, forever homes.”

For more information about the ‘Vet Day’ program, click here.

If you’re thinking about adding a furry friend to your family, the shelter is running its ‘Home for the Holidays’ campaign, offering discounted prices for adoptions through January 1, 2024. Cats are only $25 instead of $50 and dogs are $75 instead of $125.

To learn more about the animals up for adoption, click here.

There are foster and volunteer opportunities available at the shelter.