Halfway house caters to four-legged homeless - East Valley Tribune: News

Halfway house caters to four-legged homeless

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 4:14 pm | Updated: 3:51 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.


Volunteers are putting the finishing touches on a new halfway house for pets who need to be placed in a transitional residence because they have been abandoned by their owners who lost homes to foreclosure or cannot afford to keep them.

Find a new friend: Pet of the Week

Volunteers are putting the finishing touches on a new halfway house scheduled to open in about two weeks. But it’s not for law breakers who need to make the transition back into society.

It’s a home for pets who need to be placed in a transitional residence because they have been abandoned by their owners who lost homes to foreclosure or who currently cannot afford to keep them. The halfway house can provide a place for the animals to stay until their owners settle into a residence.

Find a new friend: Pet of the Week

The Lost Our Home Pet Foundation, a no-kill pet rescue organization with numerous volunteers throughout the East Valley, works with realtors who discover abandoned pets confined in backyards or empty homes without food and water. The group received a former rental home in northeast Phoenix about three months ago to use as the pet halfway house.

The house was a donation from its former owner, Blair Ballin of the Scottsdale-based Blair Group, a real estate company. Ballin, who loves animals, has two dogs and cat.

Lost Our Home, a two-year-old nonprofit organization. has experienced a 25 percent increase from about 75 calls and e-mails a month six months ago to about 100 reports a months currently from people reporting pets being abandoned or from pet owners who need a place to foster them, according to Mesa resident Jodi Polanski, executive director of the foundation.

“It’s a huge problem in the Valley, and it hasn’t stopped,” Polanski said of pet abandonment due to foreclosure.

The 1,500-square-foot, three bedroom single-story house being fixed up is the first facility the no-kill rescue group can work from instead of its volunteers fostering pets. When the home opens, it will have an on-site caretaker and will be able to house up to 10 pets, five dogs and five cats, including those that need to be rehabilitated from being malnourished or having fleas.

“It’s definitely a nice feeling for everybody to actually have a home that we can work out of,” Polanski said. “It makes it easier on the volunteers. To us, every pet is a child, and when we find them a home, it’s like kissing your child goodbye. You feel sad and happy at the same time because they are going away, but you know they’re going to a good home and they’re going to be fine.”

In the last 18 months, Lost Our Home has found homes for about 700 pets and provided 100,000 pounds of dog food to pet owners in need and currently the organization’s members currently are fostering about 100 pets with the majority of them being cats, Polanski said.

So far, Joe Palazzolo of USA West Realty of Chandler, who owns Modern Design Painting in Gilbert in addition to volunteering for Lost Our Home, has donated about 50 hours of painting, upgrading electrical wiring and repairing cabinets at the halfway house. Mark Craig of House Facts Home Inspections, has been making sure everything is up to code.

Palazzolo, who has been involved with the foundation since September, said he has heard stories about abandoned pets from other volunteers in the group, one of which involved a cat that had been locked in the closet of a home for so long it was beginning to eat the drywall.

Another dog was malnourished to the point that he had to be euthanized, Palazzolo said.

“I have two dogs, and I can’t imagine leaving them behind,” said Palazzolo, who has a chihuahua and a miniature Doberman Pincer. “It’s crazy what people do. I don’t want to see any pets euthanized for any reasons other than bad health. By people contributing help on this home, every little bit has helped.”

Other donations the foundation has received for the home include a new garage door from Sun Devil Garage in Tempe, gallons of paint from Sherwin-Williams, and a power washing of the property from Jim Cooney of Grime Busters in Phoenix.

But the work on the home is far from over.

Lost Our Home hopes to find someone willing to donate services to place a 42-foot long concrete wall in the backyard to replace a deteriorated wooden fence, and someone willing to install an HVAC system in two small rooms of the house for better ventilation.

Although Lost Our Home recently has received a large donation of dog food, it is completely out of cat food and is in need of pet food donations, Polanski said.

Lost Our Home did not want to release the address of the forthcoming halfway house because the group does not want people to drop off pets at the home unsolicited, Polanski said.

Instead, people who need to place a pet in the home or who want to donate pet food or services can call (602) 230-HELP (4357) or e-mail info@lostourhome.org. The foundation’s Web site address is www.LostOurHome.org.

  • Discuss

EVT Ice Bucket Challenge

The East Valley Tribune accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge.


EastValleyTribune.com on Facebook


EastValleyTribune.com on Twitter


EastValleyTribune.com on Google+


Subscribe to EastValleyTribune.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Your Az Jobs