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Orcas shelter lends a hand to King County Animal Control

Some of the new kittens at APS.  - contributed photo
Some of the new kittens at APS.
— image credit: contributed photo

With fur as soft as down, big expressive eyes, and playful paws, the new kittens at Orcas Animal Protection are irresistible.

And they aren't the only new residents of the shelter.

On Oct. 3, Orcas shelter manager Marsha Waunch welcomed two dogs, two cats, and 18 kittens, some of which are just eight ounces, from the King County Animal Shelter in Kent.

“Our kitten room is now alive again with the cutest bunch of kittens,” Waunch said. “Taking in two cats and 18 kittens is a huge amount at one time for us. To date, we had only taken in 21 kittens all year. I think our spay/neuter program has really made a difference on Orcas.”

Eight of the kittens are being fostered at the home of Orcas resident and shelter volunteer Barb Brunius.

Both of the dogs are small. One is a Pomeranian female, and the other is a male Lhasa Apso mix. Waunch said several people have already put in adoption requests for the dogs and many of the kittens. Since the arrival of the felines, the shelter has been abuzz with visitors who come to play with the new animals.

“We're the island petting zoo,” Waunch said.

Animal control officer Casey Litz made the trip to Orcas on her own time and with her own money.

“Our facility is a little too small to handle the 12,000 animals that come to our shelter each year, so we try to reach out to other shelters and rescue groups,” Litz said. “We have to relocate our shelter within the next fews weeks because of the possible flooding issue this winter, since we're right in the floodplain. Our new location is not even as big as the location we have now, so we need to find homes for the animals we have. Marsha welcomed these animals with open arms.”

Litz says the Kent shelter currently has between 400-500 dogs, cats, livestock, and small creatures, like reptiles and rabbits. Some of the animals are in foster homes.

The shelter faces another obstacle: King County has cut all of the funding for animal control, starting on July 30, 2010. The shelter staff hopes to secure private funding to continue its work.

All of the animals Litz brought to Orcas were strays.

“Most were turned in by good samaritans who found them in their yard or wandering the streets,” she said. “I was thrilled that Marsha could take them. Orcas has a great group of volunteers – they outnumber the animals!”

Litz says she tried to find the cutest animals to bring to Orcas.

“I hope the best for them,” she said.

This isn't the first time Orcas Animal Protection has helped out furry critters from other areas. A handful of dogs that were seized from a puppy mill came to the island in January 2009. All of them found homes.

The shelter is open from 2 to 5 p.m. every day on Hope Lane. Call the shelter at 376-6777.

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