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Pets look for new homes in Clarence

The cats are free to roam and climb wherever they choose, even in the holiday decorations.

BY: Kaitlin Fritz, Community Papers of WNY | November 29, 2012

Heart Animal Rescue and Adoption Team is making its way into Clarence. With this location that has recently opened, the members of the team hope to find more volunteers, foster families and more families to adopt the pets that are under their care.

The new location will be located at 4219 Transit Road, Clarence in the Transit Towne Plaza. This is the team’s second location. It will be the temporary home for 20 house cats. These cats will be free roaming in the store.

“This is just the start for us,” said Chris Wiehe, manager of the Heart Animal and Rescue Team’s new location. It’s a small place, which is why we’re keeping the number of cats to 20.”

They’ll be available for visitors to interact with and are also available for adoption. All of the cats that are found in the store are older and more mature. They are more independent and are capable of living in this atmosphere.

As for kittens, dogs, puppies and other animals, the mostly live with foster families. The foster families volunteer their time and devote it to these young animals to train and take care of them.

On the weekends, groups of animals that live with foster families will be visiting the store to have the opportunity to be adopted as well. For those who are interested in adopting one of the animals, they must start by filling out an application. If the applicant already has pets, the store will call the vet office as a reference. For first timers, personal references will be required.

As for cost, kittens are $95, older cats are $85 and dogs range from $100 to $250 depending on their age. All the animals are up to date on their shots. The money that is paid to adopt these animals goes towards previous medical bills and vet visits.

Funds are also received through donations from the community and Maddie’s Fund. Several fund-raisers are also held to help with the costs of taking care of the animals.

“It’s the public that keeps us going,” said Wiehe. “That’s why we want to please the public. When they adopt from us, we want them to be happy and we’ll do anything to help them with the process.”

Since this is an all-volunteer organization, all of the money goes directly back to the animals. The volunteers make sure that the store stays clean and that the animals get fed. After all of those jobs are done, they spend the rest of the time playing with the animals. Wiehe said that this is a great way for students to fill their community service hours for school. New volunteers are always welcome.

The new location opened on black Friday, Nov. 23 with the hopes that shoppers would pass by the storefront and stop in. Adoptions increase around the holidays, which is another reason for the store opening at this time.

Heart Animal Rescue and Adoption Team also offers a pet pantry. Wiehe said this is for pet owners that have lost their jobs and are having a hard time supporting their animals. They offer to help those who need it with food and anything that they can do. She added many pet owners that are struggling to support their pet feel that they are forced to give their animal to a shelter. The pet pantry is a way to prevent this and keep these family pets with their families.

The new store is open from noon until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. In the future, Wiehe said that they hope to be able expand to a larger space so they can take in more animals.

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