No shortage of dogs, cats at the Humane Society hereLeft outside, injured, skinny and no note, Gabreal needed help. He couldn’t speak for himself, but workers fed him, warmed him and gave him medical help.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
Left outside, injured, skinny and no note, Gabreal needed help.
He couldn’t speak for himself, but workers fed him, warmed him and gave him medical help.
A cat with special needs, Gabreal, who workers believe was hit by a car, walks with tender steps and needs a special home. But with strains on the economy and residents cutting costs, James River Humane Society representatives wonder what will happen to the gray and black specked feline and his many neighbors seeking homes.
This year is unlike others for the no-kill shelter, said Cindy Lugo, James River Humane Society board member, in that pets looking for homes exceed the number of cages the shelter has available. In addition to the extra mouths to feed, monetary donations to the nonprofit organization are down, she said.
“People, they need to take care of themselves first,” she said.
The shelter, which typically houses six or seven dogs, is now home to about 14, said Duane Brophy, JRHS janitor. The shelter has room for 25 cats, Lugo said, but currently houses 26.
“The routine is, as soon as you get a space, you fill it within a week,” Brophy said.
The James River Humane Society feeds and houses the animals, as well as takes them to veterinarians for medical treatment. And those costs add up, Lugo said. Each animal at the shelter is spayed or neutered — an operation that costs about $200 a piece.
“We’re a little overwhelmed right now,” she said.
Surrenders are up because pet owners can’t afford them and other reasons, Lugo said. In some cases, owners move to a nursing home or apartment that doesn’t allow pets.
In winter months especially, surrenders are more frequent because the animals require more food, Lugo said. During warmer months, outdoor cats and dogs supplement their diet with food they hunt themselves.
Like Gabreal, some cats and dogs are left outside the shelter without a note or record of their immunizations, Lugo said. Many of them need medical attention like spaying, neutering or treatment for an injured organ or limb.
The economy has affected other humane societies as well, said Betsy McFarland, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of the United States.
“It is pretty widespread across the country,” she said.
Nationwide, surrendered animals are up and monetary donations and adoption numbers are down, she said.
“It might get worse before it gets better,” said Martin Montorfano, Humane Society of the United States spokesman.
But local residents can help.
Pet adoptions at the James River Humane Society cost $75 through January or $100 beginning in February.
In addition to adopting a pet, residents can volunteer at the shelter, cleaning cages, playing with animals, compiling the newsletter or organizing fund-raisers, Lugo said.
“We’re always looking for volunteers,” she said.
If an owner has to surrender a pet, make an appointment first, Lugo said, so the shelter is sure it has room and so an animal doesn’t have to receive medical treatments it’s already had.
To surrender, adopt or volunteer, contact the James River Humane Society at 252-0747.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org