Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 1, 2012

Animal adoption Helping pets, shelters this season

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— Residents of Mercer County were shocked last year when a large number of dogs and cats being housed at the Mercer County Animal Shelter were euthanized. The shelter was overcrowded and conditions were deteriorating.

The situation has improved since that action was taken, but the animal shelter still has to house and care for large numbers of pets. As of this week, the shelter was home to 160 dogs and cats, about 10 over the facility’s comfortable limit.

Director Lisa Williams said that the public has been good about coming to the shelter and adopting animals, plus more are being accepted by rescue organizations that take dogs and cats to areas of the country where fewer animals are available for adoption. Unfortunately, more dogs and cats arrive when space becomes available. More efforts to spay and neuter animals would do a lot of help curb the population. The shelter has changed its procedures so more new pet owners will get their canines and felines sterilized.

Since this is the season of giving, it is a good time to consider the idea of giving a dog or cat the gift of a new home. Williams said the shelter’s personnel and volunteers help prospective pet owners select a pet and decide whether the animal will be a good addition to a family. The shelter has a visiting room where potential pet and potential owner can meet and see whether they would be a good match.

While Christmas with all its activity and turmoil is not the best time to introduce a pet to a home, adopting a dog or cat is something that can be done any time of the year.

The shelter receives puppies and kittens, but it also accepts adult animals. These dogs and cats are often housebroken already and ready to be loving companions. Williams urged potential pet owners to research the type of breeds they are considering for adoption; again, the shelter’s personnel are ready to offer advice.

People who cannot adopt an animal can still help by volunteering at the shelter or fostering a pet until a new home is ready for it. The shelter also is always in need of food, kitty litter, cleaning supplies, blankets and other items.

A good opportunity to donate to local animal shelters is the upcoming Prerogative Shelter Drive. Since 2007, this annual project has brought treats, toys, food, cleaning supplies and other necessities to animal shelters across the two Virginias. The Mercer County shelter will benefit from these donations along with the McDowell County Animal Shelter, the Tazewell County Animal Shelter, Pet Haven in Falls Mills, Va. and the Save A Pet Food Bank in Bluefield. Donations will be accepted at the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and the Princeton Times offices from Dec. 10-14.

The Mercer County Animal Shelter and other shelters across the region are housing and carrying for the county’s homeless pets, but the public needs to support its operations by volunteering, providing donations and giving dogs and cats a new home.