SAFE Animal Shelter inundated with kittens

By Nikki Schoenbeck
Posted 6/16/21

MIDDLEBURG – Kitten season is in full swing and Safe Animal Shelter is experiencing the negative effects of it. For the first time since the shelter opened, it has reached maximum capacity and is …

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SAFE Animal Shelter inundated with kittens


MIDDLEBURG – Kitten season is in full swing and Safe Animal Shelter is experiencing the negative effects of it. For the first time since the shelter opened, it has reached maximum capacity and is no longer accepting any more animals.

To offset the influx of kittens, Safe currently is offering a “kitten BOGO” where if you adopt one kitten for $100, you’ll get the second for free. There are roughly more than 400 kittens in foster care who will soon be available for adoption.

Sherry Mansfield, the director of Safe Animal Shelter, believes the biggest reason animal shelters are experiencing an influx of animals needing homes is the lack of spaying and neutering. 

“I feel the number one reason we have this problem is because no one is spaying or neutering their pets...part of the reason we have so many is, people can’t afford veterinary services,” Mansfield said. 

Mansfield recalls one potential adopter telling her when she took her cat to get spayed, the vet said it would cost $440. While there are vets who will spay and neuter for a cheaper price, often those vets will be completely booked. 

Jessica Tholen, the veterinary technician at the shelter, said Clay County needs more affordable veterinary services. 

“There’s definitely a need for lower cost veterinary services,” Tholen said.

The $100 adoption fee Safe Animal Shelter charges not only covers spay/neuter but also the microchip and vaccinations. Potential adopters end up saving money by adopting. 

In addition to reaching max capacity, the vet techs at the shelter believe adopting two kittens is healthier for cats. Stephanie Klides, another tech at Safe, advocates for adopting two kittens instead of just one.

“Cats are social animals. It’s better for them to have that bond and friendship with another kitten. Having two helps them to not get lonely. They comfort each other and keep each other company,” Klides said.

Along with needing adoptions, Safe Animal Shelter is also in need of foster families for the kittens too young to be adopted, volunteers and donations. Fostering animals is an important puzzle piece to the shelter, but unfortunately there currently aren’t enough fosters to go around. Usually what happens is the staff will end up taking kittens home if there weren’t any foster families available.

While fostering is needed, Tholen wants families to make sure they understand fostering animals can have just as many responsibilities, if not more than adopting an animal.

“The purpose of fostering is to find a family who doesn’t want to commit to adoption, but they want to make a difference. And the goal would be to have them completely trained so that every single time their pet is adopted, another one can come into their life,” Tholen said.

Volunteering is also another way to help Safe Animal Shelter. Although it will gladly accept any help, they mostly prefer responsible and mature volunteers. High school students can earn volunteer hours for Bright Futures during the summertime, but it’s important to remember the purpose of volunteers is to help take care of the animals, not scroll on your phone while you’re on duty.

Donations are also gravely needed. Safe Animal Shelter is always in need of Purina puppy and Purina chicken and turkey wet kitten food, IAMS kitten food, cat carriers, heating pads, cat litter, kitten nursing bottles and KMR-kitten milk replacement. Anyone interested in donating these items can go to the Safe Animal Shelters Amazon wish list. The list can be found on Safe Animal Shelters website under the “other ways to give” tab. Donations can also be brought directly to the animal shelter as well at 2913 County Road 220 in Middleburg.

Safe Animal Shelter would also greatly appreciate any tech savvy people to come and help with their social media pages and help take pictures of the animals. Money donations are also welcomed. There are plenty of ways to help the animals, and all help and donations are valuable.




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