Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Battle for Peepers

She (via a family member) said:

Florence friends and animal lovers everywhere. Please help. My sixteen year old cat Emma recently passed away. I saw a post about how the shelters in Alabama (these are not no-kill shelters) are full and need adoptions urgently. My mother went to Florence Lauderdale Animal Shelter to adopt a cat. It was closed. While she was there, on the phone with her door open, this beautiful, loving kitten, who had apparently escaped from the shelter, with no collar, on a busy street, jumped into my mother's car. The kitten could have easily died if my mother didn't rescue him. After attempting to see if someone was inside the shelter and even asking the vet across the street if they could keep him, she took him home, where for the past two days my family has given him nothing but love in a safe, comfortable home.

Today, the shelter made a post on Facebook about the kitten. The shelter was closed all weekend - if they noticed the kitten was missing they did not share it on Facebook until today. When I saw the Facebook post, I told my mother to call so they would know this kitten had found its forever family. We wanted to adopt the kitten and pay any fees for his adoption. She was told that they had decided to make this kitten a "shelter" cat and that she must return him. What loving person would return a kitten they have grown to love to live a life in a crowded animal shelter?

The shelter sent animal control to my parents' house and my crying mother handed this beautiful kitty to the officer. My mother says the officer was kind and said he was only doing what his superiors told him to do, but because he was wearing a badge, she felt that she was required to hand the kitten over. I am outraged. The kitten needs a home. This kitten deserves better than a life as a "shelter pet". Please help. Call the shelter. Call the Florence mayor. Share this status. Help us get this beautiful kitten back in our loving home. We are heartbroken that a shelter whose purpose is to find loving homes for animals would deny this cat the opportunity to have a life as a family member in a loving, comfortable home with the best care in the world. Our animals deserve better. Please help. Adding contact info - Vinny Grosso - Animal Control Director - 256-718-5170. Mayor Mickey Haddock - 256-760-6400, mhaddock@florenceal.org.

He said:

I am the Florence Lauderdale Animal Shelter Director. We have an unfortunate situation concerning a cat named Peepers. Peepers was dropped off at the shelter a little over four months ago. He required extra attention due to his small size. Three shelter employees, Joni Lovelady, Kelly Lane and Kimberly Carter raised Peepers and agreed to adopt him and keep Peepers at the shelter as our official shelter pet. Volunteers and patrons who visit our shelter have come to know Peepers due to his outgoing personality. He is spends many hours a day being held by children as well as adults. He knows no stranger. 

This past Saturday, while the employees were inside the building caring for the animals, Peepers apparently jumped into Mrs. Self’s vehicle while she was parked in front of the shelter. A little while later, the employees went to lock up and couldn’t find Peepers. They stayed for over an hour looking for him. They contacted their supervisor that Peepers was missing and reluctantly closed the shelter and went home. Kimberly got to the shelter by 7:00am the next morning to continue the search. Later on that afternoon, a customer stated that she had seen Peepers leave with a lady. The next morning, the employees took to Facebook to find their cat and within the hour, Mrs. Self called the shelter to state she had Peepers. 

This is where things get difficult. We know Mrs. Self would provide Peepers with a secure loving home but in order for that to happen, the three women that raised him and adopted him would have to give up the pet that they also love dearly. I will meet with the employees today and also will contact Mrs. Self. We will do our best to make all parties happy. I respectfully request that the negative comments being made towards my staff, to please stop. Those shelter employees that work with the animals and care for the animals have huge hearts. Saving animals is their passion. Let us all be respectful of each other and hopefully we can get this issue resolved real soon. Thank you.
Vinny Grosso
Animal Control Director

This is a tough call, but let's examine some facts:

1. The kitten was gone for 48 hours before he was reported missing on FB.
2. The kitten was not seen to before the shelter closed.
3. The kitten will have better care in a private home. (Think medical expenses.)
4. The kitten will be subject to various diseases at the public shelter.

Not being Solomon, we can't promise returning Peeps to his new mom is the correct choice, it's the one we're going with. Comments welcome.



  1. Apparently the kitten made a conscious decision whom it wanted to be it's owner, Mrs. Self.

  2. Just so I'm clear in my own mind, the shelter folks who "dearly love" the kitten would rather it be locked up every night, on weekends, and holidays, instead of being in a loving home away from the shelter? I would think they would be happy there was a forever home for Peepers...not sure I would call their behavior love. Control, maybe.