By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The efforts of volunteers and special adoption events have combined to reduce the number of dogs and cats being euthanized at the Mercer County Animal Shelter.
A recent check of shelter records showed fewer animals being euthanized than last year, County Commissioner Gene Buckner said Tuesday.
“For 2012, we euthanized 314 cats,” Buckner stated. “In 2013, we’ve euthanized 33 as of June 1.”
The number of dogs being euthanized has also fallen.
“In 2012, we euthanized 130 dogs. As of June 1 this year, we’ve euthanized 22 dogs,” Buckner added.
Volunteer help and getting the shelter more organized have helped cut the number of homeless animals being put down, Buckner said.
“They rescue and foster the animals so we don’t have to have them euthanized, and we’ve given them more time,” he said. “This increases the chances of finding them a home.”
Shelter personnel also have a new procedures and policy manual to help with daily decision-making, Buckner added.
“They didn’t have a manual before,” he said. “It seems to be working very well.”
Director Lisa Williams said special adoption events have helped place more pets into homes.
“It’s going very well. We were down at the Green Valley (Volunteer) Fire Department last Saturday. They had their dog wash and some of our animals were adopted that day,” she said.
A recent adoption event at the shelter found homes for approximately 80 animals. Grant’s Supermarket helped cover the adoption fees.
“Grant’s paid $35 on dogs. The fee is usually $75. Cats were $10, and they are usual $40,” Williams said. “The first one (event) we did was last Christmas, and then we’ve done several small adoption events.”
Williams agreed the volunteers had a lot to with the reduction of euthanized pets.
“They have been awesome,” she said. “They’ve done a great thing.”
Community involvement and volunteers posting available animals on Facebook have increased adoptions. Animals are kept an average of 14 days, but more time is allotted if the shelter is not crowded, Williams said. When a pet is approaching the maximum number of days the shelter can keep it, it is listed as a “code red.”
The animal shelter is currently running overcapacity, so more adoptions are needed, Williams stated. More homeless pets arrive as soon as others find new owners.
“We really do need a lot of people to come in and adopt, and see what we have,” she said. “The cat room is full. We have at least 70 cats. We’re running a total of about 175 animals.”