Jackson County Animal Shelters Overcrowding Problems
The Jackson County Animal Shelter is full.
There are currently 52 dogs and 46 cats housed at the shelter located in Cottageville.
âWhat we call ‘kitten season’ happened later this year for some reason,â said Teresa Hager, Jackson County animal welfare officer. âHonestly, we usually don’t have that many cats and kittens. “
Hager said that one factor that may explain the high number of kittens is the distribution of free kittens, particularly through Facebook.
âSo many times those who donate and those who take them don’t sterilize or sterilize,â she said. “It blows up the cat population, and then we get calls.”
The nonprofit, Operation Fancy Free (OFF), focuses on the feral cat population in the county, which allows the shelter to care for non-feral cats and kittens.
âKathy and Brian Stone are doing a fantastic job,â Hager said. “But it becomes disheartening for all of us when the absolute necessity of sterilization and sterilization is not met in many cases.”
Of the 52 dogs at the shelter, 17 are puppies. Hager said the shelter rarely receives perfectly healthy dogs. This is where a local veterinary clinic comes to the rescue.
âWithout Ripley Paws I don’t know what we would do,â Hager said. âThey are ready a minute in advance to accommodate our dogs and cats for any needs they may have. As for sterilization and sterilization, they save the life of the refuge. “
Housing dogs takes a little creativity. There are 13 kennels inside the main building, 16 in other buildings and various other options including the outdoor exercise area.
âWe’re doing well,â Hager said. âOur two German Shepherds are mostly outside. “
The answer to the shelter’s overcrowding issues is adoption. This can be done directly from the refuge or in the case of some, by transporting out of state.
âSeveral years ago Bobbie Chancey put us in touch with a transport group in Pennsylvania,â Hager said. âTrish Trans has been phenomenal in getting our animals to rescue and adopt. Sometimes Dreama Lemaster and I transport directly, thanks to funding and a van provided by Animal Rights Furever. Over the years, we have saved 102 dogs and 23 cats.
For Hager and his team of seven part-time workers, their resident animals and their stories become very personal.
âWith dogs, we only welcome stray dogs and very rarely an owner who surrenders, and only if we are sure we can save or adopt him,â Hager explained. âWe really work with our animals to make them comfortable around humans. Some of our cats and dogs come to us in pretty bad shape.
Hager affectionately talks about a particular cat they named G-Pa.
âIf you could have seen him when he came to us, your heart would break,â she said. âHis white fur was all matted and even yellow in places because of his surroundings. We kept trimming him until he ended up with a mohawk, but we finally had him shaved. Now he is healthy with snow white fur and the most affectionate cat. He is more than ready for a family.
Some animals have very specific needs.
âCasper, our 130-pound lab, Great Pyrenees mix, needs a simple house with no kids, likely with a male owner and a fenced yard,â Hager said. âHe’s been with us for nine months, but I know there is a place for this wonderful animal. We love Casper.
Adopting an animal from the shelter requires an application and a fee to cover the costs. All available animals are included in a photo album at the refuge. If a person is attracted to an animal, a member of staff brings them from behind.
âWe don’t let people go back to the animals anymore,â Hager said. âThey’re too edgy and excited and it’s hard to calm them down. We found this to be the best way.
Once the request is returned, Hager has a conversation to make sure the pets and the potential owner are the right fit. Hager said she is disclosing everything she knows about animals.
âWe speak right and wrong,â she said. “We want this to be the perfect situation for the person and the potential pet.”
The cost of adopting male dogs is $ 90, female dogs are $ 100. For cats, females cost $ 60 and males $ 50. If an animal comes to the shelter already spayed or neutered, the cost for dogs is $ 25 and cats $ 15.
With all of the animals in the shelter, exercise and interaction are extremely important. Volunteers are essential. Once a week, Hearts & Hands 4 Paws from Parkersburg comes to the Jackson County Shelter to walk and work with the dogs.
âThey do more than just walk them around,â Hager said. âThey work with them periodically along the way. “
Plans are underway to provide an opportunity one Saturday per month, starting in August, for local volunteers to do the same. Each person will be trained in the basic techniques of interaction and socialization of the animals associated with him.
A new animal shelter is also in the pipeline. Several years of preparation, the Jackson County Commission is moving forward with funding options to build a new shelter near the current facility.
“We are fortunate to be supported financially by our commission,” said Hager, who has been the aid worker since 2016. “But we are so excited about the possibilities once we have the new shelter in place.”
For Hager, one thing will never change about the animals at the shelter.
“We will not euthanize these furry babies unless the vet determines the disease requires it,” she said. “We want them all to have homes, but we know some of our animals will be with us for a long time.”
For more information on adoption, call 304-372-6064 or visit the Jackson County Animal Shelter on Facebook.