Animal organizations have reached their capacity; Some are rendered pets that were adopted during the lockdown | New
HERMITAGE – The Shenango Valley Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of Mercer County have different missions, but they share one thing: the space they have to keep the animals is gone, but not the demand.
As of this week, Shenango Valley Animal Shelter has been working to find homes for 70 animals – the 52 cats and 18 dogs in the shelter and foster homes. The Humane Society takes care of 30 cats and four dogs, all of whom are in foster care.
“The point is, even though we are full and have absolutely no room, if there is a call for a stray animal somewhere, we have to get out,” said Angelia Sherman, director of Shenango Valley Animal Shelter.
The shelter provides animal control services to its seven member municipalities – Farrell, Hermitage, Sharon, Sharpsville, Shenango Township, West Middlesex and Wheatland.
The Humanitarian Society responds to animal abuse and neglect throughout Mercer County.
For animal organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a challenge. People often had pets during closures, but then decided it was too difficult to care for the animals once the demands of school and work returned. So they came back to return the pets.
Other factors included pet owners who didn’t want to have their pets spayed or neutered and ended up with more pets than expected, and people who leave pets when they move. Sometimes pet owners simply call the shelter and ask to drop an animal, threatening to let the animal run free if the shelter cannot take it.
“90% of our calls are preventable,” said Courtney Ivan, a Mercer County aid worker.
While the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter has one area of focus and receives financial support from member municipalities, the Humane Society of Mercer County offers its services, as the name suggests, throughout the county.
Despite this, the humanitarian company does not have a regular source of income, which means that the managers of the humanitarian company have to rely on donations to cover costs, including veterinary bills.
The humanitarian company received a large donation earlier this year, when Aaron Burnworth of Ramirez Property Investments LLC, donated the now closed Reynolds Elementary School and the Winner Institute of Arts and Sciences building at 123 Edgewood Drive Ext., Transfer.
While this will ultimately endow the Humanitarian Society with a building of its own – something the organization lacked – it must undertake major repairs to the building before staff and animals can move into it. The renovation is estimated at around $ 500,000.
“We’ve had people come to the building to try and drop animals off before, just because they saw people working there,” Ivan said.
The animal shelter is also in need of a new home, as the current shelter on Broadway Road in Hermitage was originally built as a no-kill shelter, with limited kennel space. Although the shelter has rare euthanasia for extreme circumstances such as serious injuries or ailments, it never kills animals just to make room. That means an animal could stay at the shelter for years before finding a forever home, Sherman said.
Animal shelter officials are raising funds for a new building, which will be built on five acres along Lynnwood Drive, not far from the current shelter. The Shenango Valley Foundation donated the property in April 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered fundraising efforts.
Although previous estimates have suggested that around $ 1 million would be needed to begin work on the proposed building, Sherman said she would be ready to begin work on a smaller building that can be expanded if funding allows it. allow. If part of the new building is completed, shelter staff might even look after it and the Broadway Road shelter.
“We really need more space,” Sherman said.
But even without the cost of a larger building, the animal shelter and the humanitarian company still have ongoing veterinary costs, which can quickly increase. A dog with a hip replacement can cost around $ 4,000. In addition to this, each animal requires costs for sterilization, sterilization and vaccines.
Animal foster homes – the people who donate time, effort and homes to care for animals until they are adopted or until space opens up in the shelter – help alleviate some of this burden. Sherman said other foster families drive the animals to other shelters that have space available, Sherman said.
A foster family, Sue Smith of Hermitage, has kept hundreds of cats over the past few years and was working with around 20 cats in her home as of last week.
However, it is not necessarily easy for people to become foster families, even if they are willing to work.
At Clark’s Happy Tales Veterinary Hospital, co-owners Dr Charles and Jennifer Yurkon have reserved a kennel for a mother cat and her kittens that the animal shelter has collected from around the loading docks at the community food warehouse in the Mercer County, in downtown Sharon. .
The mother cat was quite friendly and showed signs of familiarity with people before being picked up by the animal shelter. However, not all stray animals are equally friendly for multiple reasons, such as triggers that might otherwise be unnoticeable.
Solving these issues to prepare an animal for adoption is a challenge some may not consider when considering becoming a foster family, Charles said.
“Sometimes we get dogs here that are suitable for our female staff, but when I come to watch them they start to get nervous and growl,” Charles said.
The various rescues in the area, such as TNJ Rescue and Recovery, an organization founded by Tammy and John Novakovich, are also of great help.
Tammy, a former Humanitarian Society worker and dog groomer, started the organization with her husband in May and already works with more than 30 kittens. TNJ is sometimes involved in return-to-trap programs to help prevent more stray or feral cats, but she said pet owners need to do their part to make sure their pets are repaired.
“People have to neuter and neuter their pets because there is no reason to take them out when we go through something like this,” Tammy said.
In addition to spaying and neutering their animals, Tammy said more foster homes could help alleviate the problem, although potential homes should be prepared to give a foster animal the same amount of care and attention. be careful only if it was an ordinary pet.
“You have to give her that love,” she said. “You can’t say, ‘Well, this will end up going to someone else.'”
FOR MORE information on the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter, call 724-342-5834 or visit www.sv-as.com. For more information on the Humane Society of Mercer County, visit 724-981-5445.