Humane Society over capacity, needs adopters & volunteers
The Humane Society of Morgan County has been over capacity with cats and dogs for quite some time. The Humane Society needs people to adopt their shelter dogs and cats. The organization would also like more volunteers to help with many different operations.
The Humane Society currently has 80 some cats and 20 dogs. About four shelter dogs are out in foster homes. They have a capacity for 60 cats and have 17 dog runs, shelter manager Linda Pinieski said.
Stray and unwanted cats are a big problem, she said.
"Every day there's at least two or three calls about cats. We don't have any room," she said.
As soon as they adopt out some animals, more arrive to take their place, said Ed Duncan, president of the Humane Society board of directors. They have a cooperative relationship with Morgan County Animal Control, who contacts them if a dog looks adoptable.
The Animal Control shelter only accepts dogs, he said. The county is currently examining state code to see if it could be interpreted to include abandoned cats.
The Humane Society was dealing with one case of some abandoned purebred cats of an exotic breed.
"I don't understand how people can do this to companion animals," Duncan said.
Off-site adoption events
Duncan said they were working with a rescue organization in Northern Virginia to place animals and also holding off-site adoption events at PetSmart in Hagerstown, Dog Gone Pets in Martinsburg and the public library in Fairfax, Virginia. A local adoption event also took place at the Morgan County Fair.
The Humane Society went to being a no-kill shelter format several years ago because the board of directors, staff and volunteers couldn't sanction euthanizing healthy, adoptable animals, Duncan said. He admitted they had to turn away some animals when they were full.
Only very ill animals or ones with severe behavioral problems are euthanized, he said. The Humane Society has dog trainers on staff to work with animals whose behavior problems are more manageable. They don't take in feral cats.
The Humane Society's budget was around $80,000 this year, he said. The agency receives no county or state funding, Duncan said. The Humane Society of Morgan County is a United Way agency and received an $11,000 United Way allocation this year.
Hopes for county collaboration
Duncan noted that they were not a county agency and had to raise their own funding for operations. Duncan hoped that the Humane Society and county government could forge a mutual beneficial union to cope the spiraling problem of unwanted cats and dogs.
Duncan wished that the commissioners would consider setting aside some money to help the Humane Society with their Trap, Neuter and Release program and Spay/Neuter program.
Duncan felt this program was the most effective, long-term solution to the cat overpopulation problem in Morgan County.
Trap, Neuter & Release
The Humane Society agency needs volunteers for its Trap, Neuter and Release program (TNR) to help trap feral cats and transport them to area veterinarians to be spayed or neutered.
The Humane Society is also helping local residents with limited finances with some partial assistance with the cost of spay/neuter.
The Trap, Neuter and Release program has been proven to reduce the number of stray and unwanted cats in Northern Virginia locations where it's been tried by other rescue organizations and shelters, Duncan said.
Needs volunteers, supplies
Administrative help is also needed at the Humane Society Adoption Center as well as volunteers to assist with socializing cats and dogs, walking dogs, contacting rescue organizations to place animals and helping with fund-raising projects and shelter maintenance.
A volunteer is needed to take photos of the shelter dogs and cats and write a couple of sentences about their personality for their website.
Donations of supplies such as dog and cat food, newspapers, blankets, cleaning rags, cat litter, paper towels and cash are welcome.
"Donations and fundraisers are what keep us going," said Duncan.
The Delectable Mountain Quilt Guild auctioned off 39 quilts this year, raising more than $5,000 for the Humane Society of Morgan County.
A spring concert and silent auction at the Ice House and the 2nd Annual Concert for the Animals at Cacapon State Park also raised money for the Humane Society.
The St. Patrick's/Spring Challenge along with its matching contributions raised $22,000 for the Humane Society. The money, which is approximately three months of their adoption center operations, has helped with much needed maintenance and repairs.
Old flooring and an aging and broken heating/air conditioning system were replaced. Additional indoor renovations were made. Some of the funds will finish the cat isolation building where sick and newly arrived cats will be housed.
Other fund-raising efforts included yard sales, a poker run, a supply drive at Pittman's Market and raffles at their Apple Butter Festival booth. Several grants are also being pursued.
The Humane Society is also participating in the Holiday Bazaar at Widmyer Elementary on Saturday, December 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Holiday Bazaar features crafts and refreshments.
People can also support the Humane Society by signing up for the Food Lion Shop and Save program. The agency receives $300 to $400 every quarter through the program where shoppers donate a small portion of their weekly grocery total to go to a specific charity or cause. Shoppers have to sign up quarterly for it, Duncan said.
"Every little bit helps," he said.
Animals from the Humane Society have made their way into many grateful families' hearts and lives. One former shelter dog found a tiny toddler that had slipped out of a neighboring house unnoticed while its parent searched frantically for the child.
The dog could not be coaxed to walk past the cul-de-sac where the neighbor's missing child was found in the darkness. The animal's new owner said the dog was anxious to get to something on the ground and may have saved the toddler from possibly drowning in a nearby pond to which it could have wandered.
Friends for life
Duncan encouraged everyone to come and see the animals they have available for adoption and "to be part of the solution." Animals from the Humane Society can be "Friends for Life," the agency's motto.
He reminded potential adopters that animals need veterinary care, food, exercise and attention to be properly cared for. Duncan also urged all pet owners to actively consider spaying or neutering their animals.
The Humane Society of Morgan County is open Thursday through Monday from 12 to 5 p.m.
For more information about the Humane Society of Morgan County, call 304-258-5592. You can also check out their website at www.hsmc-wv.org. Photos of animals ready for adoption can be found at their website through a link to Petfinder.com.