Saturday, March 15, 2003

Soldiers' pets need care

Kennels offer some spaces; foster homes welcome

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Randy Boyer of Country Lane Pet Resort near New Richmond with his Siberian husky, Zoe. He's organizing temporary homes for the pets of soldiers who are called to active duty.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
Military servicemen and -women who own pets and are about to be shipped overseas have a friend in Randy Boyer.

Boyer, owner of Country Lane Pet Resort in Moscow, Ohio, is organizing local kennels to provide a place for dogs and cats to stay while their owners are serving away from home.

"I was made aware of the whole situation when I read where National Guard and reserves were called to duty with 48 hours or less notice, and they didn't have a place for their pets," Boyer said. "I was totally unaware of this situation. It's truly a nationwide problem."

Boyer said some military people have had to abandon their pets or take them to animal shelters. He has been able to get Tristate pet boarding facilities to commit at least one space for military personnel. The service is primarily for dogs and cats.

"We had this outpouring - over 20 pet resorts and kennels," he said. "It varies from several spaces to one space. Some also will incur medical expenses, but in most cases they're just covering boarding costs."

He said so far about 30 spaces are available and they will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. He is looking for additional spaces.

If private citizens want to help, he said they should contact NetPets.Org's MilitaryPetsFoster Project out of North Myrtle Beach, S.C., which coordinates a nationwide network to house all pets (including animals other than cats and dogs) of military personnel free of charge. As a nonprofit organization, it is looking for charitable donations.

Boyer said began during the Gulf War but, "when 9-11 hit, it sort of crystallized" the need to continue the service.

Deanna Scott of Sundance Kennels in Independence was the first to sign up with Boyer. One of her employees is Army National Guard Cpl. Susan James, of the 133rd Mobil Public Affairs Detachment out of Nashville, Tenn.

"It's very quick when you get your orders," James said. "

She said her grandfather can take her pets if she's deployed, but gave an example of another National Guard member deployed in December.

"He had a dog and a cat," James said. "He said, `I don't have any idea what to do with them.'"

Scott said more kennel spaces and good homes are needed.

"We not only need kennels, but people who could board pets," said Ms. Scott. She said the group is also looking for donations.

"We need to step up to the plate and offer this service to military members. They're putting their life on the line for us," Boyer said.

Anyone who knows of a military person who needs a place to board a cat or dog, or an organization with boarding space or other assistance, should call 553-4513 or visit his Web site.

Individuals willing to take a pet into their homes, should visit Web site or call (843) 249-5262.

People can also call Scott, (859) 356-7900 or visit the Sundance Kennels Web site.


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