Battle Ground foster service offers abandoned pets a second chance

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Dogs and cats are some of the most popular family pets, but there are many who do not have a safe place to call home. Second Chance Companions aims to solve that problem in Clark County by providing stray dogs and cats with foster care and eventually a home.

Laverne Locey is the current owner of Second Chance, which was founded in 1993. Locey wanted to do his part to help animals in need in the county.

“There’s a great need for finding homes for cats and dogs that need new ones,” she said. “Also, (we wanted to) provide low-cost spaying and neutering for people’s pets.”

Locey said that at a more expensive veterinarian, spaying a cat can cost $300, while neutering can cost $250. For a dog, spaying and neutering could cost up to $400. However, when a vet is available, Locey said Second Chance only requires owners to pay $80 and the organization pays for the rest. Much of the costs come from fundraising, Locey said. Second Chance holds an online auction in the spring. The event used to be held in-person, but changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Locey said neutering or spaying animals is important because a dog who is not fixed can produce up to 508 puppies in their lifetime, while an unspayed cat and her offspring can produce 4,948 kittens in seven years.

Locey said she had to remove the spay and neuter applications from the organization’s website because people had to wait over 90 days on a waiting list “because there aren’t enough vets that offer low-cost spay and neuters.”

Because many pet owners face high veterinary costs, Locey said Second Chance does what they can to help those who are struggling.

“It’s gotten to the point where people can’t afford to get their animals fixed, so it’s really important to us to help those who can’t do it on their own,” she said.

Aside from a large number of puppies and kittens being born, Locey said panleukopenia is another major issue for cats. The deadly virus can spread from contact with infected feline feces.

“It’s been pretty awful when the animals aren’t being cared for and many owners don’t take their animal to the vet because they can’t afford it,” she said.

According to Locey, the state requires a rabies shot for cats or dogs, which costs around $25 on average.

Currently, Second Chance has around 60 cats and kittens, and 10 dogs in foster care with various volunteers. In addition to its spay and neutering services and foster care, Second Chance also has an “Animeals” program.

“(Animeals) provides bags of dog food and cat food, and they get delivered to Meals on Wheels recipients, along with the food they get delivered for themselves,” said Locey. “We found out Meals on Wheels recipients were often feeding their food to their pets instead of eating it themselves. The program originally started in California, but we’ve been doing it ourselves for the past several years. We also donate to food banks if we have any extra food.”

Locey said adopting a pet from Second Chance does not happen on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, the organization facilitates a meet and greet with the potential owner and observes their living conditions before deciding if they are a suitable fit for the animal. That includes their history of pets they’ve had in the past, veterinary references, finances, and checking to see if it’s a safe environment.

If a person is adopting an indoor cat, Locey will check to make sure the owner agrees to keep the cat inside because she said if the animal is outside unsupervised for a long period of time, it can get sick or run over by a car.

Locey said Second Chance recently adopted out a 2-year-old chihuahua named Jackson. The dog, who was given up by his former owners because of his barking, was taught to be more quiet and was also neutered.

Jackson now lives in a happy new home, Locey said.

“The dog will be spoiled rotten, which is fine with me, because that’s the way they should be,” Locey said.

Anyone interested in donating can send a check to P.O. Box 2343, Battle Ground. Second Chance’s website, which has a tab for adoptions, can be found online at sccpets.com.

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