The SPCA charges adoption fees of $60 for dogs and $45 for cats, although it costs $160 in tests and shots to get animals ready for adoption. The agency encourages adoptions but has a formal question-and-answer period for applicants and strict rules about expected animal care.
On Monday, Chelsea Turner, 6, of Catonsville was visiting the dog kennel with her mother, Adele, and two friends.
She settled on a "pretty and furry" 10-week-old collie named Carla, but in the question period, a staffer learned the Turner family includes a 1 1/2 -year-old.
The staffer explained to a very disappointed Chelsea why she couldn't approve the adoption: The SPCA prefers that families with young children adopt pets that are trained and well-mannered; otherwise, problems could occur when young animals become bigger.
The SPCA said it would help Chelsea find an appropriate pet she would like.
Training and fixing unwanted animals can produce wonder pets.
The SPCA office has its own ambassador in Carrie, 5, a 100-pound part Labrador retriever adopted as a 1-year-old when her owner brought the dog back because she was chewing up things.
The reddish dog was trained, and now, when not napping beneath the executive director's desk, is a presence in the crowded room.
On command, she shakes hands, does high fives, retrieves people's wallets from hidden places, rolls over and plays dead, does Lassie impersonations -- like crawling on the floor as though injured -- and roams around the crowded office checking up on working staffers.
She even kisses Miss Kitty, the office cat. Miss Kitty cleans herself up quickly after that slobbery trick.
Tips on pet care
Tips from the SPCA on pet care.
Neuter male pets and spay female pets. Nonprofit agencies charge from about $20 to $45. Fixing avoids reproduction of unwanted offspring, which are often put to death.
Take a basic pet class, such as those the SPCA offers, to understand pet behavior, and the commitment and duties required of owners.
Keep cats indoors to avoid the many dangers outside. They don't need fresh air or much exercise.
Invest in dog obedience classes. Puppies have a higher failure rate as pets than other animals; they need lots of attention. Graduates make happier and better-mannered pets.
Do not buy pets as gifts for children. The SPCA bars pet adoptions for three weeks at Christmas because gift pets are often neglected and people are too busy during the holidays.
Pub Date: 1/09/97