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August 3, 2010 > Full house at the animal shelter

Full house at the animal shelter

By Simon Wong
Photos By Gary Gin

Hayward Animal Shelter is fully occupied by kittens, cats, dogs, puppies, rabbits and other animals in search of loving homes and families. Kitten season is in full swing and the shelter is seeing an influx of young animals. Many are adopted but those that are not remain in residence, growing all the while.

Unfortunately, the public finds older kittens, puppies and critters less appealing, even though they have not reached adulthood. They have outgrown the tiny "cute" stage by the time they are five or six months old and, by feline standards, are considered "teenagers." Nevertheless, they are still playful and kitten-like despite beginning to resemble young adults in appearance. The typical image of a kitten is in the two or three-month old size and age range; consequently, many teenage kittens are overlooked, almost as often as the adult animals.

There is no time limit on how long the animals remain at the shelter though California law specifies a minimum of four business days.

The length of a stay depends on available space and behavioral issues. Animals with depression or stress because of confinement are deemed unsuitable for adoption and are euthanized. Unfortunately, the same fate befalls many that are perfectly healthy to make room for new arrivals, especially during the kitten season.

Hayward Animal Shelter staff and volunteers desperately need to place their charges in the permanent care of adoring families and are welcoming potential adopters.

The shelter advises against adoption of two-month old kittens by families with children younger than five-years old. Such young children do not really understand the fragility of a small, living being which can be injured by squeezing it like a stuffed animal, etc. Similarly, the child might also be hurt.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Hayward Animal Shelter recommend families with children up to five-years old adopt a kitten that is at least five-months old, if they insist on a kitten. At that age, the pet can escape or avoid some of the hazards toddlers and infants present.

"Popular adult-reasoning is the kitten and child grow together and bond. In reality, an adult cat can bond just as well and grow with a child, and so do older kittens," explains Christina Gin, Hayward Animal Shelter volunteer.

"A litter of 10 kits, or baby rabbits, has just arrived and we need to place them urgently," add Gin.

There is a pet-adoption fee which covers spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations, a carrier (cats, kittens, bunnies, small critters). All pets are checked and treated by a veterinarian before adoption to ensure good health. Dogs are tested for temperament before they are put up for adoption.

Hayward Animal Shelter charges less than the typical $250, or more, that a vet charges to vaccinate, spay or neuter a cat or a dog. The shelter also sells low-cost spay/neuter certificates to owners whose pets are intact. A low-cost certificate for a male cat/kitten is $20, for male dogs, $35 and for female dogs, $60.

Hayward Animal Shelter
16 Barnes Court, Hayward
(510) 293-7200

Tuesday: noon - 6 p.m.
Wednesday: noon - 7 p.m.
Thursday - Friday: noon - 6 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Last Saturday of the month: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. for lost pets only

Hayward Animal Shelter Adoption Fees
Female cats/kittens: $107
Male cats/kittens: $97
Female dogs/puppies: $166.50
Male dogs/puppies: $141.50
Female rabbits: $85
Male rabbits: $70
All other animals - turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, etc.: $20.

Dog and cat fees include sterilization, shots (not rabies), a microchip, a cardboard carrier for cats, and a license for dogs if the adopters are Hayward residents. If the adopter lives outside the City of Hayward, the license fee is deducted.

If a pet enters the shelter already spayed or neutered, the fee is reduced because the shelter does not have to subsidize the procedure.

Low-cost Spay/Neuter Certificates (to owners whose pets are intact)
Male cat/kitten: $20
Male dogs: $35
Female dogs: $60

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