Sonoma Co Shelter Decides to Stop Blaming Owners, Start Reuniting Families

Cat ID #309183 at Sonoma Co Animal Services, as shown on PetHarbor.  (Click link to read the fabulous bio.)

Cat ID #309183 at Sonoma Co Animal Services in CA, as shown on PetHarbor. (Click link to read the fabulous bio.)

Instead of shelter directors and staff continually spewing the tired old mantra that the public is irresponsible and if their lost pet got loose, they don’t deserve to have him anyway so let’s not bother doing our jobs, how about this?

“It’s moving away from that old-school thinking that owners are irresponsible,” [Sonoma Co Animal Services director Brigid] Wasson said. “Every grieving pet owner who is looking for a lost pet deserves the same level of high customer service.”

*sits up straight, pays attention*

“Why would we want to find a new home for an animal that already has a good home?” Wasson said.

Hey, yeah… that.

Sonoma Co reportedly returned 55% of its stray dogs and 20% of its stray cats to their owners in the 2013-14 fiscal year which is not too shabby.  And Wasson wants to do even better.  She has instructed her ACOs to spend more time scanning for microchips, making phone calls and knocking on doors around the neighborhood when they find a stray pet.

In addition to doing their jobs to return lost pets to their owners, Sonoma Co ACOs are re-examining their own biases against the public which typically lead to unnecessary impounds:

[ACO Shirley] Zindler said officers tended to assume the worst about people who didn’t make an effort to find their missing pets, which in turn often resulted in the animal being whisked away to the shelter. But she said that attitude is changing.

“Some people don’t realize their animal’s gone yet,” Zindler said. “They’ve been at work, the animal dug out. Certainly every effort would be made to return the animal in the field.”

More, please.

(Thank you Daniela for the link.)

 

The Irresponsible Public Strikes Back – Times Two

The Wisconsin Humane Society took over shelter operations in Racine Co one year ago.  In comparing 2012 to 2013, the Wisconsin Humane Society reports a number of changes:

  • Animals are no longer killed as a means of population control.
  • The number of live released animals nearly doubled.
  • Financial donations were 14 times greater.
  • All animals are neutered prior to their placement on the adoption floor so that new owners can take their pet home as soon as they fall in love with him.
  • Fee waived adoptions for adult cats.
  • A flexible adoption policy allowing more people to adopt shelter pets.
  • Increased promotion of animals and evening adoption hours.
  • Establishment of a spay-neuter assistance program.

When asked about the turnaround at the shelter, WHS communications director Angela Speed told the local paper:

“I think there’s something to be said for community trust[.]”

[...]

“We’re really excited to see such improvement in just our first year of operation, which is totally due to the community’s support,” Speed said.

“We’re very pleased with the first full year of operations. … We have more volunteers, more donors, more adopters. We hope to continue on this trajectory.”

***

This notice was sent out Sunday by the Breckinridge Co shelter in KY:

noname

When the public trusts the local shelter to do its job, they will come out in droves to support it.  When all the public hears from its shelter staff and volunteers is that they are irresponsible animal “dumpers” who “force” the staff to kill healthy/treatable pets, we see the opposite effect.  Which description best fits your community?

The South Will Rise

While places like Union Co, NC continue to go moldy, communities all around the south are defying stereotypes and adopting progressive no kill protocols.

In Spartanburg, SC, city ACOs used to pick up cats and take them to the pound where roughly 8 out of 10 would be killed.  Area caretakers of feral cat colonies had a contentious relationship with the officers who would round up their maintained colony cats, along with other cats, and take them away for killing.

But late last year, Spartanburg Animal Services investigated trap-neuter-return for community cats and decided it was worth a try.  Funded by a grant, the city’s ACOs launched the program in January 2013.  They are on track to meet their goal of providing neuter and vaccination services to 750 feral cats this year.  The feline kill rate has dropped to virtually zero in 2013 thanks to TNR and the relationship with the community has bloomed into a supportive and useful one.  And Spartanburg Animal Services has been educating the masses via its Facebook page on which they document their outstanding TNR success.

In North Carolina, Lincoln Co animal advocates successfully lobbied their county commissioners for shelter reform.  Citing the will of the people to save shelter pets instead of killing them, commissioners unanimously voted this month to adopt the programs of the No Kill Equation:

“We are excited about leading the way in the state of North Carolina, through our commitment to become a no kill municipal shelter,” said Alex Patton, chairman of the county commissioners. “It is the right decision and one shared by the majority of our citizens.”

In Calhoun Co, AL, an advisory board was formed after concerns were raised about animal cruelty and botched killings at the pound.  The county is now slated to turn pound operations over to a non-profit group with goals for significant improvements:

 “I kept hearing from the previous board that it’s impossible to be a no-kill shelter,” [board member and attorney Tom] Wright said. “That’s not right to me, because that should be your goal. That’s what we want to work towards.”

Makes sense to me.

So even as many old-think shelter directors and politicians in the south remain mired in the killing ways of decades gone by, more and more southern communities are throwing off the yoke of archaic practices and starting to look at what makes sense:  Animals shelters should shelter animals. The public does not want animals in shelters killed.

No kill is not only possible, it’s happening in hundreds of communities all over the country.  Regressive directors and their enablers will continue to see their stranglehold on shelters eroded as more advocates take political action and the public continues to be educated about lifesaving alternatives.  And when history reflects upon those who fought to keep killing in the south and elsewhere, they will find themselves a mere Meisterburger footnote at the end of the chapter entitled “Compassion and Common Sense”.

More Misery for Animals in Merced County, CA

On June 26, 2013, Merced County authorities served a search warrant at Last Hope Cat Kingdom – a pet sanctuary in California.  Merced County Spokesman Mike North was on site during the raid and later talked to the local ABC affiliate:

He said many of the animals were severely emaciated, some had their eyes swollen shut, and others were infected with diseases. A team of veterinarians from across the state evaluated the pets and euthanized about two hundred of them on site.

Approximately 100 additional pets were removed from the property.  North indicated that Merced Co AC had been monitoring the sanctuary and that prior inspections had all been satisfactory:

County officials said they have received past complaints about the non-profit, but inspections never revealed any problems, until last week.

“Spot checks were done by Merced County animal control and confirmed the poor conditions of the facility and the animals that were housed in them,” said North.

But on September 20, reporting in the Merced Sun-Star painted a very different picture:

A Sun-Star review of Animal Control records revealed the agency transferred close to 2,000 kittens to Last Hope Cat Kingdom over a five-year period, nearly four times the number allowed by the rescue’s county-issued permit.

[...]

Last Hope Cat Kingdom’s permit allowed a maximum of 125 cats, but the county’s Animal Control sent 1,969 kittens to the facility through its foster group from 2009 to 2013, an average of 393 animals per year.

According to the Animal Control foster and rescue reports, the agency continued giving kittens to Last Hope Cat Kingdom’s volunteers up until the day of the search, June 25. Six kittens were transferred to the rescue group on the same day authorities raided the facility.

The average age of the cats given to Last Hope by Merced Co AC was 2 weeks.  Last Hope was reportedly the only group that would accept bottle baby kittens and it was widely known that if Last Hope didn’t take the kittens, AC would kill the them.  The pound would call Last Hope to pick up bottle babies an estimated 4 times a day during kitten season each year.  Last Hope co-founder Renate Schmitz faced the same predicament as many other overburdened rescuers in areas where the local shelter doesn’t do its job:

Schmitz said her rescue sometimes stopped taking animals from the public, but said it was hard to say “no” to Animal Control. “If you don’t take them, you know they will be killed or euthanized,” she said.
[...]
Animal Services Manager Rick Blackwell acknowledged using Last Hope Cat Kingdom as the agency’s main rescue group for bottle babies, but said the nonprofit could have stopped accepting more animals.

Or the shelter could have stopped killing baby cats and started doing its job.  Expanding the foster network jumps to mind, as does issuing pleas to the public on social media as bottle babies arrive at the shelter.

Dave Robinson, county Animal Control director, said in a recent interview that he was unaware the agency was sending that many kittens to Last Hope.
[...]
“One thing you have to remember about bottle babies is you probably have about 8 percent of them surviving,” Robinson said.

Say what now? Maddie’s Fund has rather different figures:

The veterinary literature reports intimidating mortality rates for orphaned kittens up to 12 weeks of age, ranging from 15% to 40%.

15, 40, 92 – whatevah, whatevs.  It sounds like the director is attempting to whitewash his pound’s failure with orphaned kittens by implying they were going to die anyway but that is outright false.  Many good shelters scramble during kitten season to get fosters and rescuers lined up for bottle feeding duty because it’s their job and because most of those animals survive.

And remember those “spot checks” and inspections the county spokesman had said AC was conducting at Last Hope?  In light of the fact that the Sun-Star exposed AC had been giving the sanctuary kittens hand over fist, including the day of the raid, I wondered if the county was going to walk those inspections claims back:

“We would never knowingly create a problem,” Blackwell said. “If we had knowledge there was an issue, we would stop sending animals there.”

[...]

Blackwell confirmed that animal control officers visited Last Hope only when there was a complaint. The most recent complaint was filed in 2010, so it had been almost three years since a thorough inspection.

[...]

Robinson acknowledged that Animal Control hadn’t inspected the rescue annually. “I think going forward we realized we do need to have a role in the process,” he said.

[...]

Robinson said it’s possible that Animal Control officers were unaware Last Hope could have no more than 125 animals since the permit was issued in 2003 and by the Planning Department.

“Back in 2003, Animal Control knew what that number was, but over the midst of time, I think the number got lost,” Robinson said.

Oh please.  More like:  We weren’t doing our jobs but instead foisting our failures onto an overburdened rescue group.  We tried to kill our way out of it with 200 on site kitten kills and lie our way out of it with claims of inspections and ignorance but then we were exposed by the local paper.  So now, uh The Midst of Time and stuff.

No charges have yet been filed against Renate Schmitz or anyone at Last Hope Cat Kingdom.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

The Public Steps In to Help Neglected Shelter Pets in Comal Co

A Jack Russell Terrier stands in a filthy kennel at CLASS in Comal Co, TX. (Image via Facebook)

A Jack Russell Terrier stands in a filthy kennel at CLASS in Comal Co, TX. (Image via Facebook)

In Texas, volunteers documented conditions at the Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society (CLASS) and posted the allegations and photos on Facebook.  They also shared the information with CLASS board members who promptly resigned.  The employees were fired and issued criminal trespass warnings by the county sheriff’s office which is conducting an investigation to determine if the alleged neglect warrants criminal charges.

The allegations include pets being left in filth, without food or water in some cases, missing pet food, and the killing of animals. Gina Archer, the former executive director who worked at CLASS for 14 years, says animals were only killed due to illness.  She and her husband were 2 of the 3 employees fired on Monday this week:

The Archers deny any of the allegations and say none of the animals were covered in their own filth.

“There might have been that on Monday morning,” said Gina Archer. “That was not the case when we walked out of there at five in the afternoon on Saturday.”

This sounds to me like an admission that animals were neglected at CLASS from Saturday afternoon until Monday morning.  Did Ms. Archer routinely leave shelter pets without care for more than an entire day?  Several photos posted on the Facebook page maintained by volunteers depict buckets of undrinkable water.  This one appears to be a trash bin with trash inside when it was filled with water and placed inside a dog kennel:

trash water

In addition to allegations of neglect, the volunteers who have taken over the shelter say there is no air conditioning, no computer and thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.

“Yesterday, we had no food, no cat litter and a half a gallon of bleach,” said new board member, Angie Gilstrap.

More than 100 cats and dogs were left in deplorable conditions.

But once word got out about the desperate need for help at the shelter, the public stepped up – big time.  Donated food and supplies filled the office on Tuesday, dozens of people showed up to volunteer for cleaning duty and adopters arrived to take pets home.  Assistance is still needed:

There is no way to currently donate online or via credit card, but Gilstrap expects that to be available by the end of the week.

Anyone who would like to donate money, time or items can do so at the shelter at 2170 Old Sattler Road in Canyon Lake, or call CLASS at 830-899-2527.

Thank you once again to the so-called irresponsible public for helping shelter pets get the care they need.  I’d hate to think of a world without all you damn irresponsible people in it.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Private Citizens Save Dozens of Cats at CT Shelter

On July 29, a local TV news report indicated Bridgeport AC in CT was threatening to kill cats due to being over capacity.  A rescue group offered to pay the adoption fees for the cats in an effort to encourage people to adopt.  The next day, the same TV station reported that people waited in line for a chance to adopt the free cats:

Yesterday, the shelter had about 75 cats.

The shelter says all but one of the cats have now been adopted, but they get new cats in all the time.

Thank you to the so-called irresponsible public, yet again – both the rescue group that paid the fees and the adopters who opened up their hearts and homes.

I hope next time Bridgeport AC needs help from compassionate people, it won’t resort to threats of violence against the pets in its care.  The public wants to save pets and will respond to pleas for assistance but any shelter wanting to build a lasting relationship with supporters needs to do its job and avoid threats to hurt animals.

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

The Long Arm of Restrictive Shelter Policies

The Humane Society of Marshall County in Benton, KY (aka The Benton Marshall HS, as listed on Facebook) says on its website it is a private, limited admission shelter in need of donations.  A reader recently sent me a list of the group’s requirements for accepting dogs and cats:

  • We can ONLY ACCEPT animals from Marshall County
  • We can ONLY ACCEPT owner surrenders which means we CANNOT accept strays
  • Bring ALL vet records when surrendering an animal
  • DOGS:
  • MUST HAVE PROOF: Current rabies, Negative heartworm test and a negative fecal test.
  • CANNOT ACCEPT: Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chows, Dobermans, Akita or Mastiff
  • PUPPIES:
  • MUST HAVE at least one set of puppy shots and negative fecal test
  • Parents CANNOT be related

When accepting dogs, the staff will look at the adult dogs skin conditions, sores, behavior problems, eye or ear problems. Accepting puppies the staff will look for vomitting, diarrhea, nasal, eye discharge, skin condition, itching and umbilical hernia.

  • CATS:
  • MUST HAVE PROOF:  Negative Leukemia FIV test, negative fecal test and rabies
  • KITTENS:
  • MUST HAVE PROOF:  At least one set of kitten shots, Negative Leukemia FIV test and negative fecal test

When accepting cats, the staff will look for skin problems, eye discharge, nasal discharge, ears, sneezing, and diarrhea.

***

Shorter:  Vetted white & fluffies only.

I was curious, since the HS clearly doesn’t intend to spend much in the way of veterinary care for its pets and since they adopt out intact pets with a $50 refundable deposit (so they are not paying for neutering themselves), how much do they sell dogs and cats for?

The website states cats are $65 (plus the $50 refundable neuter deposit) and dogs are $75 – $200 (plus the $50 refundable neuter deposit).  The adoption application states that after you buy the pet, if you fail to have him neutered by a certain date, the HS has the right to take your pet back.  In addition, there are a list of annual expenses for which the adopter is expected to be prepared to pay for 20 years, including $30 – $100 a year for neutering.  Dang, I guess neutering doesn’t last as long as it usta.

At any rate, having recently read through a bunch of different shelter and rescue policies, I find too many of them failing to effectively fulfill the stated mission of getting homeless pets adopted.  Picking out the vetted white and fluffies from the community and selling them intact for up to $200 creates another problem too:  resentment on the part of the municipal facility.  The Marshall Co pound accepts all the unvetted Pitbulls and goopy-eyed cats.  Naturally this is going to cause some bad blood, as was evident last year when the county voted not to accept the Humane Society’s offer to merge:

The county shelter and Humane Society used to be competitors of sorts and for years, county leaders and Humane Society leaders haven’t always agreed.

[...]

After big changes from new leadership at the county shelter, the number of adoptions soared, euthanasia rates subsequently went down and the price to adopt went down, too.

[...]

Due to low euthanasia rates and high adoption rates, the county shelter is operating with a surplus.

Meanwhile, the Humane Society is losing business. Their adoption fees are higher and more people are taking animals and donations to the county shelter.

Look at how well the county shelter was doing in February 2012 (pdf).  Increased lifesaving=decreased expenses.  I was unable to find any more recent stats but hopefully the shelter is continuing to succeed in its mission.

The impact of restrictive shelter policies reaches well into the community – potential adopters, donors and officials are all affected.  As are the pets, sadly.  Why not consider throwing off the shackles and offering a hand to the county in a meaningful way – not just a oh-gee-you-guys-have-a-surplus-and-we-are-in-the-red-let’s-be-friends kind of way?  There is a potential win-win situation in Marshall Co but not as things stand.  Will the private and the public sectors ever be able to work together for the benefit of the community’s pets?

 

KY Shelter Soars to 95% Save Rate

Josh Cromer has been the director of the Humane Society of Henderson County for a little over a year and, while he does not claim to be no kill, the shelter’s save rate has improved immensely under his leadership:

2010: 731 animals or 40 percent of all animals that left the shelter that year through Oct. 1 were euthanized.

2011: 862 animals or 45 percent were euthanized.

2012: 65 animals or 5 percent have been euthanized.

Mr. Cromer credits having like-minded people on board with his lifesaving goals at the shelter as a key element in his success.  He also mentions that HSHC stopped accepting surrenders from other counties, worked with more rescues and sent more pets home with adopters.  His goal for his first year was reportedly to cut the killing by half.  He obviously exceeded that goal.  HSHC board president Josh Williams explains:

“Josh brought in a fresh perspective and challenged what was possible,” Williams said.

Challenging what’s possible for shelter pets in Henderson Co means challenging the idea that killing is an acceptable means of population control.  In too many areas, we see anyone who challenges the killing attacked, marginalized, and/or demonized by those claiming that no one wants to kill animals while filling up the dumpster with dead pets.  I’m glad Henderson Co was open minded enough to give someone challenging the status quo a chance.  We need more municipalities willing to condemn the cruelty of the past and demand that lifesaving alternatives be given every opportunity to succeed in the future.  It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s what people want, as Mr. Cromer notes:

“The community does support what we’re doing for the most part,” he added. “People don’t want to see animals die for no reason other than they were not wanted.”

Yes.

(Thanks Clarice for sending in this link.)

Savannah Shelter Puts in the Hard Work to Change from a Pet Killing Facility to a Lifesaving Shelter

A recent article in the Jackson Sun looks at the commitment to lifesaving at the Savannah Animal Shelter in TN.  Charlie Nickle, director of the shelter, said that 3 years ago the primary focus of the facility was impounding homeless pets and killing them.  But things have improved greatly:

From Nov. 1, 2011, to Nov. 1 this year, the shelter took in 657 animals and euthanized 29 of them. The remainder were adopted.

That’s a 96% live release rate.  Mr. Nickle attributes the dramatic change to a number of factors:

“We tried to look at placements and adoptions instead of killing them,” he said. “We’ve been very successful in that. We’re very proud of that.”

He credits the efforts of staff and volunteers working the phones and networking animals online as well as a good relationship with the city commission, a strong spay-neuter program and a new benefactor.  In addition, Robin Haspiel, shelter coordinator, says the convenient location of the new building has been helpful.

So to recap, in the views of people who work at the Savannah shelter and have been part of the turnaround, the success can be attributed to staff and volunteers committed to lifesaving instead of killing, building good political relationships, efforts to make spay-neuter accessible to the community and a good location.

For an outsider’s view, the paper turned to the Collierville Animal Shelter director:

Nina Wingfield, a Collierville resident and president of the Animal Control Association of Tennessee, said Savannah is an example of a community that has rallied to support a public animal shelter.

“It’s been turned around,” she said. “It just takes money. A city can’t continue thinking it doesn’t need one. I have no problem with euthanasia, I just don’t have to do it much here. We just got behind spay-neuter education. Euthanasia is putting a Band-Aid on a gushing wound. It’s just creating more animal issues. … There are just not enough homes for all these animals.”

It just takes money?  That’s not what the people doing it said.

By the way, how comforted is everyone to know that the president of the ACA in TN has “no problem” with pet killing?  As for the notion that killing pets is “putting a band-aid on a gushing wound” – ouch.  If death is your band-aid, I’d hate to look inside your first aid kit.

But this is what you get when you buy into the old “not enough homes” myth.  Killing is your solution.  Money is your elusive friend.  The public is your enemy.

The Collierville shelter’s website says they offer a “comprehensive pet adoption service”:

It is not the Animal Shelter’s intent to make pet ownership seem inexpensive or unrealistically easy.

Which puts me in mind of Ms. Wingfield’s earlier quote, “I have no problem with” pet killing.

Right.  That’s the problem.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me this article.)

Thanksgiving Letter from a Reader

Kitten sheltered at Randolph Co Humane Society in WV. (Photo provided by Vicki Aucremanne.)

Hi Shirley

I have a story for you! It would be called “A shelter who got it right!”

The shelter is Randolph County Humane Society animal shelter and it is located in Elkins, WV. The manager of this shelter is Kelly Scheideggar and she has been here for 11 years. This shelter is a very very low kill shelter, with low operating budget, in a fairly rural setting. The shelter manager has turned this place into a safe haven for lost pets, whereas before her arrival, it was a pet killing facility…(90% kill rate in the past – NOW less than 10%!!!)

This weekend we had an incident that reinforced my respect for her and I want to share this story with you.

What happens when the early morning worker at a small local shelter (humane capacity probably around 90-100 dogs and cats both) comes to work before the sun is up and finds approximately 30 cats abandoned in the parking lot? Finds cats crammed inside of boxes together? Finds cat running loose in the parking lot?

What does the manager of this shelter do after she and other staff rush to work early, and capture these cats? What does she do after evaluating and checking these animals in? After she takes account of how many cats are already in the shelter? After she realizes how far over humane holding capacity these 30 cats will put the shelter?

If your answer is to do what many large, more well funded shelters would do – to start looking over the list of cats who are already in the shelter, and determine who has been there the longest and decide who gets killed to make room for the new comers, then the answer is WRONG!

What this manager did as soon as she was able, was to go to the internet and make a plea for help via Facebook. Yes, Shirley, a plea to the public (gasp -yes I said public) for help was made – asking for what? Funds to buy Fatal Plus? NOPE.  A plea went out for food, litter, crates, and yep – foster homes, and adopters!

(Here is a copy of that plea from Facebook) ——-

___________________________________________________________________________
ATTENTION FACEBOOK FANS – WE ARE IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION!

When we arrived at the shelter this morning, we found that over 30 cats and kittens had been dumped in the shelter parking lot by a heartless individual during the night. We have captured most of these precious babies, but are still in the process of seeing if there are any more out there.

Right now, we desperately need crates, food and litter to take care of these little ones. Once they are checked in and evaluated, we are asking for foster homes and adopters.

Please facebook fans, if you can help in any manner, call the shelter at 304-636-7844!

__________________________________________________________________________

And guess what went into motion? Was the plea ignored? Was it a demand that cats be killed ? (After all, many say the public is not able to think of things to do to help and some even say that, all people are evil cat haters who should never have a pet or know how to take care of one) Nope – here’s what happened in brief -

Within literally minutes, phone calls to the shelter started coming in, and Facebook messages with offers of help were received. People wanted to know what time the shelter would open so they can come out, help, and perhaps adopt.

Sleeping kitten, safe at the Randolph Co Humane Society in WV. (Photo provided by Vicki Aucremanne.)

People (yes Shirley, the irresponsible public) start coming to the shelter with food, litter, crates, bedding and more. Within the hour of the plea going out!

Cars rolled in – handing the staff food and supplies. Bags of cat food, kitty litter and more. Crates….

People drove up and handed the staff checks…

A little girl took her birthday present money and bought cat food!

A statewide cat rescue (PURR WV) came on the scene within two hours to assess the situation and offer assistance, taking 12 cats.

A national disaster organization (IFAW) was alerted via PURRWV to help if needed.

Throughout the weekend, the public continued to bring in food, litter, and other cat necessities.

By Sunday, other offers of help from other cat rescues are coming in from as far away as New Jersey. Donations are coming from Amazon.com from places like VA!

2 cats were adopted and 1 cat was reclaimed over the weekend. Others went into foster care. The shelter is down closer to its usual capacity. There is food, litter, and more available with promise of more on the way.

At no time ever over this long weekend, was killing the cats – any cat, long term or “new comer” – an option or even mentioned. NEVER… not one time…. ever… it was not even in anyone’s thought processes. EVER. Instead it was team work between the shelter manager, her direct care staff, rescue workers, AND the PUBLIC (yes – the public that OTHER shelters call evil and irresponsible).

I know these things to be fact. I was there, as rep of the statewide group, PURR. I saw it happen with my own eyes. I am proud of our local shelter for doing what they did. They got it right. Today as I write, cats have been adopted. Yes, other cats are at the local shelter still needing homes, but still very much protected (as a shelter should!) and cared for. Other cats have gone home to new families, some are at the rescue, others in foster care. But they are all alive…. thanks to a shelter manager, who gets it right!

Here is the follow up Facebook message from the manager – this was just 9 hours after the initial plea went out:
______________________________________________________________________
Wow, what a great, caring and compassionate community we have. The out pouring of help today was nothing short of awesome. To all of you who brought food and supplies up, saying Thank You just doesn’t seem like enough. Please know that we are so grateful for the kindness you showed to the abandoned cats and kittens. To the familes who came up and adopted and fostered, you truly made a difference. To Dan and Vicki Aucremanne and our Friends at PURR WV, you ROCK ! Thank you so very much for your assistance. As far as we know, there is only one cat left that we have not been able to catch, we have left food, water, and shelter out for her, hopefully tomorrow we’ll be able to coax her in. All of the others are safe, warm, and have have full bellies. God Bless All of You !!! ~Kelly~
___________________________________________________________

And another follow up. The search is now on for the child who gave her birthday money – if only we could find her. All the help is deeply appreciated, but this selfless act by a child needs a hug!

_______________________________________________________________

Good morning facebook friends. The ‘dust is slowly settling’ after this weekends emergency situation involving the many cats who were abandoned at our door step. In the midst of the hectic activity that was going on Saturday morning and afternoon, we failed to get the name of someone who made a very special donation to help these homeless and abandoned kitties. We were told that a little girl had used her birthday present money to buy food to bring to the shelter for these cats. We want to send you a very special thank you for doing this! And we would love for you to contact us – we would love to give you a hug for doing such a kind thing. Your act of kindness has helped us to be able to help these formerly abandoned kitties.

_________________________________

Rescuers catch a loose cat outside the Randolph Co Humane Society in WV. (Photo provided by Vicki Aucremanne.)

Here is the link to the shelter’s Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/RCHS2?fref=ts

Their number is 304-636-7844

The manager is Kelly Scheideggar. She deserves a hug and more. She is the true leader of the “Little Shelter who got it right”

Thanks so much for reading this. I thought a good shelter story would bring us all some happiness – and since it is Thanksgiving. I will say, thankfulness, that there are folks who are doing sheltering well and doing it right!

Vicki Aucremanne

Thank you for sending in this story Vicki.  It’s a good reminder of the things all no kill advocates can be thankful for today and every day – shelters that shelter, leaders who lead, rescuers who rescue and of course the so-called irresponsible public.

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