MILTON — The Santa Rosa County Animal Shelter has historically seen high intake during the summer months due to "kitten season" and an annual increase in lost and stray pets.
To encourage adoptions and make necessary space in the shelter, adoption fees are reduced through Aug. 31.
A $10 adoption fee for kittens and cats includes spaying or neutering; testing for feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia and heartworms; deworming and appropriate vaccinations according to age (including rabies).
A $20 adoption fee for puppies and dogs includes spaying or neutering; testing for heartworms; deworming; and appropriate vaccinations according to age (including rabies).
Pets can be microchipped for a donation of $15 with an additional minimal fee for registration with HomeAgain.
During kitten season, large numbers of young kittens are surrendered to shelters and rescues, often before they are successfully weaned. Staff members encourage residents to "wait until eight" and leave kittens under the care of their mothers until they are eight weeks old.
“If you see kittens alone, don't assume they are orphaned,” said Dr. Megan Arevalo, shelter veterinarian. “Most likely, the mother will return shortly and it’s critical that the kittens remain in her care as she offers their best chance for survival.”
Fosters for very young kittens are needed to help the shelter, and staff will provide volunteers with the necessary tools, including care kits and tips on bottle feeding to ensure the kittens have their best chance at adoption. For information on becoming a foster or a volunteer, visit www.santarosa.fl.gov/animals.
It's important for residents to remember that when they pick up strays, they assume responsibility of the animal, per county ordinance. The shelter provides resources for alternatives to surrendering animals, including several local animal rescue groups that accept placements.
For more information on adoption, fostering or volunteering, contact Santa Rosa County Animal Services at 850-983-4680.