At only 25-years-old, one Fort Stockton resident has dedicated the last few years of her life to helping animals.
Alex Franco works a full time job as an assistant manager at Bush's Chicken, is raising her 6-year-old daughter, Larissa, and in her free time cares for sick and injured kittens.
Her rescue, which she calls The Kitten House, currently has 19 kittens plus a pregnant momma cat, an injured rabbit, a turtle, some fish, her dog and some of the cats she is keeping herself.
“I always say I'm full but I take them in anyways,” said Franco.
She caters to sick and orphaned kittens or ones who need to be bottle fed or need extra help or medicine.
“When I was younger I was never allowed to have animals so now I rescue them,” said Franco.
She works a lot with Dr. Ted Fish of the Animal Medical Clinic, who helps her learn how to administer the medicine and the clinic helps work with her on payment plans.
“Everything is out of my own pocket,” said Franco.
She will run Facebook fundraisers when she really needs extra help, but she said most of the funds comes out of her paychecks.
“The cost is insane,” said Franco. “Most of the money is spent on vet bills.”
She estimates that she spends at least $500 a month on supplies and more when vet bills are added to the equation.
Franco works hard to ensure the kittens are healthy and socialized before they get adopted out.
Her daughter and her dog help the kittens come out of their shell and get used to people and other pets.
When the kittens come to Franco they are anywhere from newly born to 15 weeks or more.
A lot of time they have conjunctivitis, are losing hair, respiratory issues or can't yet eat on their own.
She loves taking care of the kittens, but also does it out of a necessity for the town.
“There's no one here who takes them in,” she said.
She said the biggest issue is people not spaying and neutering their pets.
“People really need to be willing to do that,” said Franco.
Out of her 19 kittens currently, a few of them were left outside in a box in front of the veterinarians office overnight.
Others were found in a dumpster or being attacked by other animals.
“I make sure they will get taken to a vet,” said Franco.
She likes to make sure the kittens are fully on hard food before being adopted out so the new owner has an easier time taking care of them.
Last year and this year she has seen so many kittens come through her door and the amount is hard to manage, even though she loves doing it.
“If I wasn't helping them where would they be now,” said Franco.
Her daughter is in cheerleading and they have to travel a lot of time making it difficult for Franco to leave the house.
She even took kittens on a trip because they needed to be bottle fed every two hours and she didn't know who else could help.
She would love to have other kitten lovers volunteer to help foster or help out when she is away.
Many of the kittens need daily medicine and eye cleanings, but Franco said she would love the help.
She also could use help with disinfectants, syringes, kitten food especially wet food and dry food, litter or puppy pads.
She also recently got a donation of ferret cages, which will allow her to house and help more kittens, but any type of cage is helpful to her operation.
She tried to raise funds for an incubator for the newborn kittens, but got a load of sick kittens in shortly after and had to take them all to the vet.
If you want to donate or help Franco in anyway call (432) 290-9745 or friend her on facebook at Alex Franco TKH.