Fluffy meowing kittens elicited “awws” from young children excitedly proclaiming “kitty” Wednesday as they attended the Harker Heights Pet Adoption Center’s annual pet party.

Harker Heights mother Jessamy Karlson brought 2-year-old Evan and 5-year-old Khloe to the event, along with Sarah Brooks and her 4-year-old Serena and 1-year-old Grayson.

“I liked the baby kitties best because my favorite thing was holding one,” Khloe said.

Killeen resident Matthias Vohwinkel said he liked that the event gave his children something to do. But with two dogs named Audi and Benz and two cats named Malina and Lilly, he said the Vohwinkel family reached its pet limit.

His daughter, 9-year-old Sophia, said she liked seeing the “cute, little kittens.”

Amanda Hairston, Harker Heights children’s librarian, said the library partnered with the pet adoption center to host the event.

Along with bounce houses, face painting, bubbles and crafts, groups were able to tour the facility, she said.

“We did it last year as well, and it was a good turnout last year, too. So we’re just really excited, and I think (the center) does quite a bit more adoptions from it,” Hairston said.

Albert Musgrove, Harker Heights animal control officer, led groups through the facility, sharing information about the purpose it serves.

“We’re not the Humane Society,” Musgrove said. “We are one of the few agencies that not only protects the public, but we also try to protect the animals.”

The shelter’s personnel picks up animals in an effort to save them, he said.

Last year, 943 animals were adopted at the shelter, and 392 were reconnected with their owners, Musgrove said.

State law requires the shelter to hold picked up animals for 72 hours before allowing them to be adopted, which is why it’s important for owners to file reports, he said.

The Harker Heights shelter keeps the animals for 96 hours before adopting them out. Once it’s determined the animal is safe, it moves to the kennel, Musgrove said.

Groups touring the shelter’s facility Wednesday saw the indoor air-conditioned dog kennel, which included 7-year-old Dalmatian-mix Charlie and 1-year-old Chihuahua Bandit.

The shelter also features an adoption room and outside area for prospective animal adopters to see if they bond with the animals, he said.

Pets can be adopted at the shelter for $10, and some are free because of benefactors who already paid the fee, Musgrove said.

Those interested in adopting can call the shelter at 254-953-5472 and visit it from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at 403 Indian Trail in Harker Heights.

Contact Rachael Riley at rriley@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7553

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