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Community members are invited to bring their pets to the Paws & Claws Adoption Center's Howl A Days Pawpawrazzi Photos event from 1-3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the center, 2124 13th St. Attendees can take photos of their pets with Santa Claus.

Even animals deserve a nice and cozy home for Christmas, said Paws & Claws Adoption Center Manager Jan Berry.

Berry said she was looking for ways to encourage community members to adopt the center’s available 59 cats and seven dogs – especially during the holiday season – when an idea struck. As a result, the pets will be delivered by Santa Claus or one of his helping to families wanting to adopt a pet for Christmas. Deliveries can be conducted any time before and after the holiday.

Those wishing to adopt a pet are encouraged to call the center at 402-562-5683 or drop by the location, 2124 13th St., to take a look at available pets. Once an animal is selected, clients will have to complete necessary legal paperwork before proceeding to schedule a delivery date.

Although finding a home for sheltered animals is her top priority, Berry said making sure families are well-prepared to care for their prospective pets is just as important. Berry said center staff will discuss with clients before each adoption to avoid animals from being returned and abandoned.

Berry encouraged people to not spring a pet on a person unknowingly, noting pets adopted as a surprise gift oftentimes get returned.

“If they don’t know if they can have a pet, it’s always best to gift a gift certificate,” she said.

Shawn Flowers, lead animal control officer for Columbus Animal Control, also advised community members to think twice about gifting pets as Christmas presents, especially when it’s going to be a surprise.

Berry said community members who don’t wish to adopt a pet can also play a role in helping to keep stray animals off the streets by turning them over to the center, Columbus Animal Control or police departments. She noted there were days when the center had people turning in 18 cats.

Last year, Flowers said his department received up to 958 reports of stray animals – most of which were cats – and wildlife within city limits. Among those numbers, Flowers said approximately 177 animals found their way back to their owners.

“Columbus does have an abundance of stray cats,” Flowers said. “We try to get animals back home as quick as possible.”

Flowers said people should avoid keeping pets they found on the streets and to refrain from trying to find their owners themselves. Because pets are considered someone’s property, Flowers said taking one can be considered theft.

If the animal is licensed or tagged, Flowers said his department can trace it back to its owner. Animals that are sheltered for more than 72 hours will be kept at the center.

When it comes to sheltered animals, Berry said the average length of stay is approximately 60 days.

Those already with pets are invited to participate in the upcoming Howl A Days Pawpawrazzi Photos event from 1-3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the center, 2124 13th St. Pet owners have the opportunity to take a Christmas photo of their pets with or without Santa Claus.

There is a small fee associated with each photo one wants, which will be collected as a donation for the center.

Flowers said pets can have a positive impact on people's lives.

“I think anyone having animals is a great thing,” Flowers said. “Pets can cheer you up and bring new life to the family.”

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at

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