Puppy love

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Atmore/PCI Animal Shelter kennel technician Patty Gentry says goodbye to one of 10 puppies transported to the Pet Station USA store in Foley Tuesday afternoon where they will receive medical exams and be sold for a modest adoption fee.

Eight furry siblings are on their way to finding good homes this week thanks to the efforts of the newly formed Atmore/PCI Animal Shelter.

The still-young shelter, which opened in December on Cindebran Drive, has already become a revolving door for stray animals in need of loving owners.

Animal control officer Susanne Sirmon said the shelter has delivered healthy animals to anxious pet lovers all over the country in only its first three months in operation.

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“We recently sent a golden retriever-Lab mix to the Baldwin County rescue, and we have sent animals to New Orleans, Atlanta, New York and Pensacola,” Sirmon said.

Tuesday, Sirmon and kennel technician Patty Gentry were preparing to send another group of animals on their way towards finding loving homes. Eight five-week-old German Shepard mix puppies and two three-month-old mixed pups were transported to Pet Station USA in Foley where store owners Ty and Maureen Russell will see to it the dogs are completely checked by veterinarians and will then offer them to customers for only a small adoption fee.

Sirmon said it is important for people to realize how many good homes the new shelter is providing despite its label as an animal control facility.

“We are animal control, not a humane society,” she said. “But we make every effort to find these animals a good home. We’re working hard on it.”

Getting Pet Station USA involved in that process marks the rekindling of an old friendship for the shelter, Sirmon said.

“I worked with them when I was here before and they owned a franchise of Pet Land in Pensacola,” she said. “They have since sold that franchise and opened Pet Station USA, and we’re excited to work with them.”

Sirmon said the fact that the store is located in Alabama is an added perk.

“In Florida there are more regulations we had to go through to get the animals to them,” she said. “In Alabama they have to be healthy and old enough to be on their own.”

So far the Pet Station USA partnership has already seen five animals sent to the Foley location, all of which have been adopted by owners, Sirmon said.

The relationship also provides some extra help for the Atmore-based shelter.

“They usually give us a donation of some kind,” Sirmon said of the Pet Station owners. “A donation of food or something like that.”

Sirmon said the puppies taken to the Pet Station store Tuesday were found under a house with their mother, who had obviously been the victim of abuse, and were allowed to nurse with her in the shelter for as long as they were able.

While the shelter is able to send a good many animals on to better environments, there are still plenty of animals in need of a good homes, Sirmon said. She stressed the public is encouraged to visit the new shelter and see the number of loving animals in need of someone who will take them home.