by SARAH NACHIN
HERNANDO SUN WRITER
On Thursday, July 18 members of the Rotary Club of Spring Hill paid a visit to PAW Warriors, a facility that offers care and shelter to abandoned, stray, sick and injured cats.
The club delivered $400 worth of cat food, kitty litter, detergent, bleach and other supplies. The facility off County Line Road at the moment houses approximately 143 felines.
Tracie Steger, the president of PAW Warriors, founded the organization in 2011. Tracie has a background as a veterinary tech. They also have another volunteer vet tech that comes to treat the sick and injured cats.
"Our goal is to educate the public about responsible pet ownership regarding spaying and neutering their pets, as well as vaccinations and inserting ID chips," Ms. Steger states.
In addition to spaying or neutering more than 4,500 cats in the past eight years, the organization also helps people who need assistance in getting their own cats spayed and neutered. They work with low-cost spaying clinics such as Pet Luv.
PAW Warriors obtains their funds from several sources, including the Bissell Corporation, Onyx and Breezy Foundation, Petco Foundation and Pet Finders Foundation, along with contributions from individuals.
The facility originally occupied one acre. When the owner of the adjoining four acres passed away, the bank foreclosed on her property. The bank offered it to PAW Warriors for $40,000. It seemed like an insurmountable sum for the organization to come up with, but in just twenty-one days, they raised $46,000.
The cats get plenty of TLC from the volunteers. These include the Girl Scouts, high school students who are working on their community service hours and students from Hope Youth Ranch, a school for autistic children. Every evening at dusk, they have Happy Hour when the volunteers play with the cats.
"It helps to de-stress them," says Ms. Steger.
There is even a dormitory-like shelter where the cats can go in bad weather. It houses their food dishes, beds, fans and a heater when the weather is cold.
PAW Warriors currently has about twelve volunteers and they are seeking more people to help care for the cats.
They are also in need of supplies, such as canned and dry food, cat treats, kitty litter, detergent, bleach and paper towels. And, of course, monetary donations to keep the organization running are always welcome. They are looking for people who will adopt the cats, as well. On the average five or six cats are adopted out each month.
The shelter is located at 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill. If you are interested in helping PAW Warriors, in any way, contact Tracie at 352-403-9633 or by email: [email protected]