80% of homes in the United States have a pet, 50% have more than one pet. ~Keri Burgess, Board of Directors Dogs & Cats Forever Inc.
Americans love their pets.
Yet, each year approximately 6 to 8 million dogs and cats are lost, abandoned, or unwanted, entering animal shelters. Of these, 3 to 4 million are euthanized. (PETA)
This is a decrease from the previous 12-20 million of prior years.
Approximately 30 percent of shelter dogs return home, claimed by their owners thanks to identification through tattoos, tags, and micro chipping. 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are adopted yearly.
Keri Burgess is a devoted advocate of the shelter pets cause.
Moving to Florida from Indiana in 2003, she began to foster orphaned and dumped puppies. These pups require hand feeding until they are nine weeks old and adoptable.
Today she cares for three of the pups she has rescued, two of which are from litters she fostered.
Max came from a large 9-pup litter with an emaciated mother. She wouldn’t feed him.
Earl was an orphaned puppy from a back yard breeder in Miami.
Her most recent adoption is Buddy, who was found on the banks of the Loxahatchee Waterway injured and crying. He’d been shot in the face and paw with a 22.
Ms. Burgess states, “Dogs today are being dumped in the Everglades to either fend for themselves or to be eaten by gators. They are left in abandoned houses to starve to death, thrown out of cars, dumped in the river and chained to fences. Others are simply given to shelters because owners don’t want to care for the Christmas puppy which grew up or the ailing owner passed away and no one wants the pet.”
Working for the good of many, she took a seat on the Board of Directors of Dogs and Cats Forever Inc., located on Selvitz Road in Fort Pierce, Florida, the only no kill shelter on the Treasure Coast with a facility.
Begun in 1988 with a large donation, the shelter’s main purpose is to “help stop the killing of over 75,000 abandoned animals in Southern Florida.” Each week, they house 100 plus dogs and 100 plus cats on their 8 acres. Each year hundreds to thousands of animals are rescued.
Dogs and Cats Forever, Inc. is a charity, not-for-profit, tax-exempt project, completely dependent on donations and endowments. Wal-Mart provides the dog food.
The charity also arranges a service to dying or aging pet owners concerned about their dog or cat’s future; they will donate their estate upon death to Dogs and Cats Forever Inc.; the pet is part of the estate. The charity promises to care for the pet as long as it lives. It is not uncommon for no provision to be made for a family pet. And many times relatives do not want a dog(s) or a cat.
Dogs and Cats Forever, Inc. receives animals from all over the state, including Martin and St. Lucie Counties. Their board of directors is comprised of a cross section of professionals from the Treasure Coast.
In the future, their plans include opening a cat house just for felines and providing a senior sanctuary for dogs. “People give pets away when they’re older,” Keri Burgess adds.
Dogs and Cats Forever, Inc. with its board and volunteers at the shelter and in their local thrift store is a group effort. Each person involved cares about the animals and their well being. Keri Burgess states, “It’s many that can bring about change and make a difference.”
Keri Burgess is a woman with a heart for the helpless, “People should consider adopting a rescue dog.” A Palm City resident and Hometown Hero, she can be reached locally at:
Or catch her on the street, walking her three rescues: Max, Earl and Buddy.
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© 2014 "Hometown Heroes" Kelly Jadon