This is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.

Whether a cat, dog or other pet, we encourage our readers to always consider shelter animals in need of a home.

Pet adoption just makes sense.

Adopting a pet from a shelter more often than not saves an animal’s life.

Shelters, pet-fostering “parents” and animal-rescue groups have a much wider variety of pets than most people realize.

No matter what you are looking for, regardless of breed, size, temperament or age, there are dogs, cats and other pets needing a forever home.

Many families will find that by adopting an older pet they can avoid some of the issues often associated with bringing a puppy or kitten into the home.

Some people just aren’t well suited for house training, coping with a chewing puppy that is teething or getting a cat used to its litter box.

While there are basic fees associated with pet adoption, there is no comparison to the cost of purchasing an animal from a pet store or a breeder.

Literally millions of dogs and cats are put to death each year, because they have no home.

Yet, millions of people bring a new pet into their homes each year, often paying a store or breeder hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for the animal.

The Lowndes County Animal Shelter offers pet adoptions for $125 for dogs and $105 for cats.

Included in those fees:

— All cats and kittens are confirmed to be negative for feline leukemia.

— All dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are de-wormed, flea sprayed, nails are trimmed, ears are cleaned/treated for ear mites and are vaccinated with their first set of shots.

— All pets are spayed or neutered, receive a vet exam, rabies vaccination, microchip ID and registration.

— Dogs older than 6 months are tested for heartworms. Test results are listed on the kennel card and indicated as positive or negative for heartworms.

Dogs are also confirmed to be heart-worm negative.

If you are interested in adopting a pet, you must complete the adoption application prior to visiting the facility.

All animals adopted from the shelter are spayed or neutered before they go to their new home.

The shelter transports the pet to a local veterinarian’s clinic and the new owner is able to pick the pet up there the next business day.

The county’s animal shelter encourages responsible pet ownership and reminds pet owners that providing proper care is not only the right thing to do, it is the law.

Lowndes County Animal Welfare says basic animal care includes:

— A rabies vaccination — It’s the law

— Proper shelter and protection from the elements

— Constant access to fresh, clean water

— Proper nutrition

— Heartworm prevention

— A microchip

— An annual vet exam

— Spay/neuter

Violators of Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta’s Animal Welfare Ordinance appear in court on a regular basis to face cruelty and neglect charges, according to county officials, adding that failing to take proper care of a pet is considered to be a serious offense, that could result in hefty fines and even jail time.

Again, we encourage our readers if you are considering bringing a pet into your homes, visit the animal shelter first and have serious family discussions about the responsibilities of pet ownership before adopting your new pet.

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