Parsippany Animal Control and Shelter wants you to adopt a pet. That's why the township agency is taking part in the annual Iams Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption campaign through Jan. 3, 2012.
Nationally, the goal is to find homes for 1.5 million pets, according to Animal Control Officer Jessica Suto.
“With as many as 8 million homeless pets in the U.S., it is important everyone get involved to help savean orphaned animal this holiday season,” said Suto. “We’re proud to be a part of this amazing campaign and are dedicated to helping reach our pet adoption goal.”
As part of the program, all dogs, cats, puppies and kittens adopted by Jan. 3 will go home with an Iams Adoption Kit, which includes tips for new pet owners. Suto, a 10-year veteran to the department, said she and the staff are ready to assist as well.
“The team here at Parsippany Animal Control is specially trained and can help families choose the perfect pet for their personalities and lifestyles,” she said.
Parsippany Animal Control has provided service to the township and its human and animal residents since its founding in 1967, according to Supervisor Chris Dikovics.
"We're trying to put nice animals in nice homes," Dikovics said.
In 2010, the department adopted out more than 200 cats and 30 dogs. Now they need residents' help to place even more displaced animals with caring owners.
"The fee to adopt a dog is $60. For a cat, it's $35. Very reasonable," said Dikovics. "The price includes basic vaccinations and spaying or neutering."
A visit to the Animal Control office at 1069 Parsippany Blvd. didn't reveal very many animals. The canine caging area featured only one dog, and she was a boarder who was picked up by his "mom" while Patch was there.
"We try to be proactive here," said Dikovics, referring to himself, Suto and the newest member of the team, Animal Control Officer Heidi Evdokimoff. "Being proactive means not many animals are on-site. It's also because Parsippany residents tend to treat their animals well. It's a reflection of the community."
There were plenty of cats on hand, however, in what Dikovics called "The Cattery." This is a section of the department that houses cats. Volunteer Audrey Crowther was on hand to help socialize the felines and provide them with affection.
"They are all pretty sweet," she said, nuzzling a kitten before placing it back into its cage.
Dikovics pointed to one cat, Bo, a Himalayan who he said came in off of the streets.
"This is a million-dollar kitty," he said.
Another, Whiskers, according to Dikovics had been at Animal Control for three months. And there were a passel of kittens Dikovics said were "too young to be adopted."
Most eventually are placed with new families, though.
"One was born in a Parsippany sewer and went to living in luxury in Mountain Lakes," he said.
In fact, owner suitability is a very important topic for Dikovics.
"We stress to the public that an animal you're caring for is your property," he said. "We must take responsibility for our property. We can't expect government to take responsibility--we have to take responsibility."
Dikovics said that they strive to make sure pets go to good homes. But if an owner, whether that person bought a pet through a store or adopted it from a shelter, discovers that he or she cannot provide the best home for their cat, dog or pet, "surrender it to us. Let us find it a nice home."
Surrender fees are levied on the basis of the animal's weight: $25 for 25 pounds or less, $45 for animals 21-49 pounds, $65 for anything 50 pounds or more.
"Here we will take care of them, feed them, give them medical care and make sure they are treated well in a clean space until they are sent to a nice home," Dikovics said.
A veterinarian, Dr. Linda Dulude, is part of the staff. The department also boasts a quarantine area with a dedicated heating, cooling and ventilation system for sick dogs and a separate refrigerator for medical specimens.
Of course, the office deals with more than animal adoptions. During Hurricane Irene, Dikovics, Suto and Evdokimoff took to the streets in the Animal Control vehicle to be of assistance to animals caught in the storm. The staff distributes dog licenses and picks up strays. (Dikovics is an advocate for instituting licenses for cats as well.) Kennel services are avilable for a fee. If a pet needs to be euthanized, the department handles it. And if an animal dies suddenly, Animal Control will handle emergency pickups of bodies at the surrender fee rate.
But the primary task, said Dikovics, is keeping as few animals on-site as possible, which means putting "nice animals in nice homes," which is why Parsippany Animal Control is taking part in Iams' global effort to promote pet adoption.
Jessica Suto is acting as point person for the campaign. If you are interested in more information on Parsippany's pet adoption effort, call Suto at 973-263-7083 or email her at email@example.com
Adoption hours are: Monday-Friday 3-5 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. until noon.