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Hurricane Valley journal, Vol. 9, No. 27, February 22, 2006

Thrift Store Offers Stray Pets “One More Chance”

By: Dianne Graham

One More Chance Thrift Store, at 60 North Main, in Hurricane, is devoted to saving homeless pets from death. The store, open from noon until 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, is dedicating any income above expenses to help care for homeless pets. By providing opportunities for neutering stray animals, the owners hope that they can prevent the growth in the number of homeless pets in the Hurricane Valley.

All too often, family pets become excess baggage in a family crisis. Rather than take the time to find their unwanted pets a new home, people either take them to a remote area and dump them or abandon them when they move, leaving them behind to fend for themselves. The pets, which have been trained to be totally dependent upon humans for food and shelter, are bewildered and unable to take care of themselves.

Often, a well-meaning person in the area will put food and water out for such animals but not want to become involved otherwise in their care. The abandoned animals can become ill or injured, or reproduce in an uncontrolled fashion. By being humanely trapped, neutered, and then returned to their familiar neighborhood, the animals may find a home or, at the very least, have a chance to live a longer life, but not by much. The average house cat lives 12 to 20 years with proper nutrition and healthcare. By comparison, the life expectancy of the average street cat is eight years. They either become ill, are maimed or seriously injured in a fight, or get run over by a car and left for dead.

To date, approximately 75 cats have been part of the “trap, neuter and return” program.

“Seventy-five female cats can produce up to 3,500** kittens in one year’s time if left to roam wild. By trapping the strays, taking them to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for neutering, and then returning them to their home neighborhoods, the overall population of cats can be reduced significantly,” stated Sue Kroll, the thrift store’s owner.

“Of course the primary goal is to educate people so they won’t dump their pets in the first place,” she added.

The pets are returned to the area where they are trapped. Returning the animals to a familiar area helps them feel more secure, and, ultimately, it’s either that or a trip to the Humane Society and almost certain death. There are simply too many stray pets to find homes for. On the street, an obviously neutered former pet has a better chance of being adopted.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the One More Chance Thrift Store may do so by dropping off items during business hours or by calling 635-3563 to make an appointment, or by placing the items over the back fence to be picked up by the owners.

When asked what gave Sue Kroll and her husband, Don Wilson, the idea to come to Hurricane and begin this venture, Kroll said: “Oddly enough, it was the movie 'City Slickers.' We lived in the San Diego area, and when I saw the movie, I fell in love with the landscape. My husband and I had talked about moving ‘east’ for a while, and so we took a trip to St. George and fell in love with the area and its close proximity to the Grand Canyon. We were intrigued by the name ‘Hurricane’ for a town, came here to visit, loved the valley, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“We take everything (for our store) except large furniture, and any excess is donated to Deseret Industries," Kroll said. "Glassware, clothing, knick-knacks, wall hangings, paperback books and cookbooks do especially well, but we also accept cash donations to help the cause. Part of the problem with homeless pets in our area is that the foundation No More Homeless Pets has pulled funding from the region, so we had to come up with the resources to help the animals from somewhere else,” Kroll said.

The One More Chance Thrift Store is a nonprofit business but has not yet received its tax-exempt status, meaning donations cannot be deducted from income taxes as charitable donations at the present time.

The ultimate goal of the store is to do something to help reduce the population of stray dogs in the area as well, but since cats reproduce more prolifically, Kroll and Wilson decided to begin their efforts there.

“At this point, we’re just making enough to cover expenses, but we realize it takes time to build a business such as this, so we are determined to ‘hang in there’ and keep working diligently in behalf of homeless pets in the valley,” Kroll said.


**This number is an error, it should read 3,500 at the end of 8 years.