October 2, 2019 830 PM
It must stop! Alpine citizens have grown weary of the primordial screams and piggy grunts of carnal passion and ceaseless sounds of satanic lust. Unbridled screams of craven desire and physical torment must end. No! I do not mean your usual collegiate keg party, although the college kids are partially to blame for the results of the nocturnal noodling. The results of this nightly bestial bacchanal are too often tragic.
According to Vicki Gibson, coordinator of the Alpine Humane Society’s Orphaned Kitten Program: “From March to July 2019 – ‘kitten season’ – 30 orphaned kittens went through the brand-new program. We were able to save 29 of them. One was only four days old when we got her and died a few days later.” Gibson also said, “This has been the worst kitten season on record. We are still in crisis mode at the AHS Thrift Store and the city shelter. There are currently 55 cats at the city shelter, the AHS Thrift Store, and in foster homes. AHS has helped the city shelter avoid euthanizing any animals due to lack of space for more than 5 years, but this kitten season we are stretched to maximum capacity and our no-euthanasia streak is in danger if we cannot find homes for these 55 cats ASAP!”
The 29 saved orphaned kittens are only a fraction of those abandoned by their feral mothers. So far in 2019, 130 cats have been adopted from AHS foster homes, AHS Thrift Store, and the city shelter; 34 dogs have been adopted, and 74 dogs have been transported to other rescues.
Alpine Humane Society is a nonprofit animal welfare organization. Part of their mission is to act as the auxiliary arm of the city shelter (operated by Alpine Animal Services). AHS supplements the city shelter’s animal food, vet care, cleaning supplies, kitty litter, and more. Additionally, AHS provides 15,000+ volunteer hours annually at the city shelter. Their broader scope is to assist animals in Brewster County – the largest county in Texas with nearly 6200 square miles – through educational and spay/neuter programs, financial assistance for vet care, and by facilitating adoptions, rehoming, and reuniting lost animals with their owners.
The Orphaned Kitten Program is but one of a number of programs sponsored by Alpine’s outstanding Humane Society and Alpine Animal Services. “To maintain our programs to save these animals, we need constant volunteers and financial assistance from the community,” said Gwin Grimes, the organization’s treasurer and kitten lover. “The thrift store is one of my favorite things about volunteering for AHS,” said Grimes, “Not just because it’s an important ongoing fundraiser, but because of the cattery. What could be better than visiting a roomful of adoptable, adorable, playful kittens and cats?”
Twice a week Jeffery Allen bicycles to the AHS Thrift Store Cattery to cajole, cuddle, and comfort small balls of fur that appreciate every minute of his volunteer visit. A man given to sarcasm, cynicism, and even sometimes satire, Jeff smooths his rough edges by showing the little critters that somebody cares.
“While many people know of our efforts, we are currently working on a major information campaign to let residents of Brewster County know that we fully pay the costs for spaying and neutering feral cats and that we assist by providing traps,” said Jeanine Bishop, AHS executive director. She added, “We also do the same for community cats – those who hang out on the porches and patios of various [homes], and who have become socialized but have no actual owners. Reducing the homeless cat population is incredibly important in terms of keeping all cats disease-free and reducing problems caused by so many wild cats in neighborhoods. Anyone who would like assistance with feral or community cats can call AHS at 432-837-2532 for more information and to set up appointments with a vet.”
One reason that Alpine has so many abandoned kittens and cats is because students entering Sul Ross State University adopt a pet but abandon the animal when they graduate and leave town. Because of their actions, I once suggested that all incoming freshman be spayed or neutered. While many residents are in agreement with this subject, politicians are horrified because they felt they might be next on the list.
Melissa Amparan, who has assisted me with this column for eight years, did the right thing when her pet cat had three kittens out of wedlock. The family were taken to the vet at the appropriate time and will not continue their procreation. “I felt it was my duty as a responsible citizen of the world to keep these fluffy balls of happiness from suffering,” she said. Melissa went from responsible student to become Associate Director of Financial Aid at Sul Ross State University.
Maybe the Humane Society should start an education program for all students, both for public school and the university.