Thursday, January 22, 2009
It is tragic when a family loses their home to a fire. The tragedy is compounded when a homeowner loses a pet as well. This was the case in three fires in the last two months and is estimated that more than 40 family pets perished due to home fires in Wichita in 2008.
The Wichita Environmental Services Department and the Wichita Fire Department (WFD) are teaming up to offer an opportunity to obtain a free dog or cat from the Wichita Animal Shelter to victims who have lost their pet in a home fire. The WFD will notify the Environmental Services Department when they respond to a fire where a family's pet dog or cat has perished. Environmental Services will contact the owner to offer an adoptable dog or cat from the Wichita Animal Shelter.
Upon adoption, the animal will be vaccinated against rabies. Wichita license fees will be waived for one year (if the animal selected is a dog). The pet will be micro chipped for identification purposes and spayed or neutered all free of charge. The Kansas Humane Society has agreed to assist the City of Wichita to help defray costs.
The program was conceived after a recent fire left a family with five children without a home and took the life of their family dog.
"Many of us at the Environmental Services Department are pet owners and realize the important role a pet plays in our daily lives," said Kay Johnson, Environmental Services Director. "An adoption will not only help in a family's recovery, but it will give a deserving animal a good home."
The department intends to cover initial program expenses from its public donation fund. Donations identified for the "New Beginnings" Adoption Program will be placed into the fund for victims who have lost pets to a home fire. Contact is Drew Bessey, Wichita Animal Shelter, at (316) 838-9623 for donations.