Season of Wishes: HoofBeats and PawPrints helps pets

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, December 10, 2020

NATCHEZ — The homeless animals of the Miss-Lou come in all shapes and sizes. Some have wet noses and wagging tails and some purr when they are scratched under their chins.

The goal of HoofBeats and PawPrints Rescue, also called HPR, is to make sure that every healthy pet can find a home — even if that means sending them to where homes are more abundant, said HPR founder, Kathy Fitch.

In the northern states, there are many people lined-up looking for a pet to adopt whereas in the south, homeless animals often roam the streets and fill up shelters.

“We have such an over population of pets here that it can be hard to imagine people needing and looking for one,” Fitch said.

Fitch said HPR, located just outside of Natchez in Jefferson County, started in 2017 as a large animal rescue center for mostly horses, donkeys and mules. In 2019, HPR incorporated a transport service, which was once part of the operations at the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society beginning in 2012.

Each month, HPR’s transport moves an average of 140 to 160 healthy dogs and cats to areas where they have a better shot at finding homes, Fitch said.

Before the transport service existed, healthy animals housed in area shelters had to be euthanized for lack of a better option, she said.

“Most shelters that do not want to euthanize animals do participate in transports,” Fitch said. “We are the insurance policy when all else fails. The end result is a home.”

In addition to taking and transporting animals from crowded shelters and independent rescuers in Concordia Parish, Adams County and surrounding areas, Fitch said HPR also shelters approximately 200 pets on a monthly basis until they are healthy enough for transport.

HPR provides spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, medicine and socialization for some animals that are not used to being cared for by people.

Fitch said HPR is a registered non-profit that survives off of donations from supporters.

As the months are getting colder, HPR currently has a critical need for fleece or used blankets and towels as well as dog and cat toys, Purina kitten chow and any brand of canned dog or cat food, Fitch said.

Donations to HPR are accepted at Grace United Methodist Church in Natchez, Vidalia United Methodist Church.

Monetary donations can also be mailed or dropped off at 17341 River Road, Natchez 39120 with checks made out to “HoofBeats and PawPrints Rescue” or “HPR,” Fitch said.

Donations can also be made on the HPR website: www.hoofbeatsandpawprintsrescue.org.