With record-setting low temperatures this month, concerned pet lovers have been spreading the word to bring in outdoor pets and make sure that they, too, have a warm place to spend the night.
But what about those unfortunate animals that have no one to take them in and keep them warm? Several Malone University student members of ZOOM (Zoological Organization of Malone) spent one wintry afternoon volunteering their services to make sure that the stray and feral cat population of the greater Canton area would have a warm habitat available during the cold, snowy months ahead.
ZOOM is a campus organization primarily made up of Zoo and Wildlife Biology majors; however, the organization is open to all Malone students. The club hosts relevant speakers, takes zoo trips, and does volunteer work. Recently, the officers of ZOOM partnered with Peace for Pets, a Northeast Ohio nonprofit organization, and through this organization were able to build shelters for stray cats.
Jackson High School graduate and Malone University Junior Hilary Mullane had worked as a volunteer for the organization and was excited when her fellow ZOOM members chose to do work with them.
"Peace for Pets' main mission is to provide temporary foster homes for the pets of victims of domestic violence," Mullane said. "When those affected by domestic abuse choose to enter a shelter, they are not able to take their pets with them."
Peace for Pets can find temporary homes for these animals for up to three months. In October 2012, Hilary volunteered to have her residence act as one of these foster homes. Mullane has volunteered to provide shelter for small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
"As a zoo and wildlife biology major, I care about animals and the issues that affect them are important to me," says Hilary.
Mullane, Malone assistant professor of biology Karyn Collie and four other members of ZOOM spent an afternoon building and decorating small shelters made out of plastic storage bins for the stray and feral cats. Peace for Pets then distributed the shelters throughout the area. Not only is the organization dedicated to helping shelter wild cats, it also does trap, neuter, release programs for stray cats in order to help with the overpopulation of wild cats.