How to assist shelters — outside of adoption

Organizations like Paws-itive Partners and Fur the Love of Paws help pet owners to be as responsible as they can. Fur the Love of Paws specializes in spay/neuter and adoptions, while Paws-itive Partners offers help in those areas as well as hosting a pet food pantry for low-income pet owners.

In North Platte and the surrounding area, several establishments exist to support pet owners.

The North Platte Animal Shelter, which is supported by groups like Paws-itive Partners and Fur the Love of Paws, stands as a spot where abandoned pets are taken in and held for adoption. The animal shelter will take care of the animals while they are under their roof. This leaves many needs and opportunities for the community to contribute to their operations.

Rhonda Castillo of North Platte’s Animal Control said the shelter accepts donations of dog food, cat food, kitty litter, pillows, blankets, towels and unscented bleach.

She noted that pet owners also can help the animal shelter by protecting their pets.

“There is a leash law in the city of North Platte. All dogs need to be on a leash; if not, you can get a ticket for a loose dog,” she said.

Castillo also encourages pet owners to spay and neuter their pets for the sake of not having an overpopulation of animals, many of which wind up in shelters.

When the animals leave the shelter, Paws-itive Partners and Fur the Love of Paws come into the picture. Both groups work with the North Platte Animal Shelter to help get animals adopted. They also stress the spaying and neutering cause, sometimes providing reduced-cost procedures for pet owners.

Paws-itive Partners also operates a pet food pantry for low-income pet owners that can be utilized up to six months in a year. Because of how accessible it is, donated items are incredibly helpful to the cause.

“We always need food,” Paws-itive Partners president Susan Kubart said. “We are getting kind of low on cat food right now. Dog food is always a need. Cat litter is always a need there as well.”

People can also get involved by giving their time to volunteer.

Sometimes, when a pet nears the end of its life, the animal is dropped off at a shelter simply because the owner does not want to, or doesn’t know how to, take care of it. Enter Sharon Johnson and K9Haven Rescue in Broken Bow.

Johnson houses, in her home, older dogs that have been abandoned by owners. Currently she has eight dogs, and over her years of caring for the animals she has taken in dogs from North Platte, Kearney and Grand Island as well as locally in Broken Bow. This equals some steep costs for her, which community donations can help offset.

“It runs me about $1,500 a year to take care of eight dogs,” Johnson says. “We do all the vetting. That’s spay/neuter and dentist. If someone adopts from me, the dogs are completely current on everything,”