Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 6, 2013

Volunteers hope more homes can be found for shelter animals

GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Volunteers with the Mercer County Animal Shelter are hoping more people will step up and adopt dogs that might otherwise face euthanasia.

Numerous animals were adopted during an adoption fair hosted in December 2012.  Adoption fees were first lowered, and then later waived when Grant’s Supermarket offered to cover the cost.

However, the shelter has been operating at capacity, said County Commissioner Gene Buckner. The facility is designed to house approximately 150 dogs and cats.

The shelter had not been euthanizing animals because it did not have anyone on staff qualified to do it, Buckner said. According to West Virginia State Code, an animal must be held for five days. Photographs of them are posted at the Mercer County Courthouse.

Pictures of animals that are available for adoption are posted in local media as well.

Buckner said dogs and cats are not automatically euthanized when the five-day period ends.

“We’re not doing that,” he said. “We’re not going to euthanize an animal after the five-day period. We’re going to give the volunteers an opportunity to adopt it, rescue it or foster it.”

The county commission is currently working with the shelter and volunteers on the procedures used at the facility.

“We’re in the process of trying to work out something with the volunteers and they’re aware of that,” Buckner said.

According to the state code, a shelter run by a government entity cannot be a no-kill shelter, he stated.

Wendy Harsanyi, an animal volunteer at the shelter, said the state code does not mandate that animals have to be killed. The volunteers’ goal is to make the county shelter a no-kill shelter.

“We would like everybody, the community, everybody to come to the same goal,” she said.

Photographs and descriptions of animals available for adoption are posted on the Facebook page MercerCo Volunteer Page. Some photos of dogs are posted along with the days remaining until they may be euthanized.

“Three days to give them a second chance, either adoption or rescue or foster,” Harsanyi said.

People interested in adopting a dog or cat can visit the Facebook page.

“Or they can go to the shelter,” Harsanyi concluded.