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Please put these groups on your Christmas list

We published a photo Friday of the 1,000th pet from Natchez to benefit from the HoofBeats and PawPrints Rescue animal transport program.

Just think about that. One thousand unwanted pets from our area were transported by kind, loving volunteers to areas that quickly found them loving, forever homes.

In addition to HoofBeats and PawPrints Rescue, we in the Miss-Lou are fortunate to have a number of rescue groups at work helping unwanted, abandoned and abused pets.

The 1,000th pet happened to be a beautiful, ginger-colored cat named Doris. It’s rare that transport organizations find homes for cats, but Kathy Fitch, who founded HoofBeats and PawPrints Rescue, has done just that.

We all know the good work performed daily by groups like the Natchez Adams County Humane Society, but many other, lesser known groups and individuals are hard at work here, and those rescues and their volunteers continue to need our help. Those rescues and volunteers are stretched thin — and often to the breaking point — by thousands more unwanted, homeless, neglected or abused pets in need of urgent help.

Their work is often heart breaking. Yet they continue on because of the dire need of so many.

Concordia PAWS is as grassroots a group as there ever was. A handful of Ferriday women came together in 2015 and held meetings in a church in an effort to organize and help the many abandoned, neglected and severely injured and abused dogs they were seeing in their area. Most of those were pit bulls and pit bull mixes and were the horrible aftermath of rampant illegal dog fighting in the area.

Those women today run a highly effective shelter and have helped hundreds and hundreds of animals, but they depend on donations and gifts from individuals to do their work.

A group of Natchez area volunteers, much more loosely organized have come together to help decrease the size of the feral cat population — and to assure those ferals that remain stay healthy and don’t spread disease to other animals — by feeding and spaying and neutering. Using the Trap, Neuter and Return philosophy, hundreds of feral cats in Natchez are healthy and won’t ever reproduce, but humanely will live their out their lives within the safety of their colonies, thanks to the efforts of some hard-working, loving people in Natchez.

There are others at work here, too. As the holiday season quickly approaches, please put them on your list of those you want to bless and honor with a gift.

You can send donations to the addresses below. Or, you can buy dog and cat food or bleach and paper towels or other cleaning supplies and deliver them to the rescue. Maybe your best gift would be to volunteer to walk a dog. Whatever you can give or do, please be part of those who work to better the lives of animals.

*HoofBeats and PawPrints Rescue, animal transport program, 17341 River Road, Natchez MS 39120.

*Concordia PAWS, 1212 First St., P.O. Box 671, Ferriday, LA 71334.

*Natchez Feral Cats, checks can be made out and mailed to Mississippi Spay and Neuter,657 Hwy 49 South, Richland MS 39218. Please make certain to write on your check that the funds are for the NATCHEZ FERAL CAT PROGRAM.

*Natchez Adams County Humane Society, 475 Liberty Road, Natchez MS 39120.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Natchez Democrat. You may reach her at 601-445-3627 or jan.griffey@natchezdemocrat.com.

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