by Becca Tedesco, Hayley Olivenbaum, J.B. Wright–
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), approximately 6.5 million animals enter U.S animal shelters every year. One shelter in the New River Valley area is working to make the lives of those animals happier and healthier.
The grand opening of the new Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center was April 29, 2017. The new shelter is over 16,000 square feet, a 288 percent increase in space compared to the previous shelter. With this increase in space, there is obviously much more room for animals to be housed. Due to the larger facility, the center is moving towards a no kill policy and focusing more on making sure the animals are either adopted or sent to a rescue.
“It’s so much brighter and there’s so much more room. The animals are going to be more adoptable because they are so much happier,” said Director Eileen Mahan.
The staff and volunteers are proud of their new center and hope that it will be a place that adds more community involvement. Not only will the center be a place that houses animals, but it also includes a community room to hold meetings, paint nights and other community events.
Mahan has already seen the impact the new facility has had on the volunteers and animals. The center has a greater ability to keep the shelter clean and this has a direct effect on everyone that comes in contact with it.
The shelter can now hold 68 dogs and 64 cats, a 310 percent increase in the number of animals housed. Not only that, but the shelter stays open much longer during the week.
The new shelter includes a shower for staff to wash off in after working with animals, a laundry room to wash animals blankets and dishes, a surgical room for vets to come and perform minor surgeries on animals and an indoor food room, all things the previous center didn’t include.
There are many ways that people can help at the new center – from walking and bathing dogs, to doing laundry and caring for recently abandoned or adopted pets. Even Montgomery County inmates are able to come in and help around the center.
This shelter is one of many that is working towards helping to lower the average of euthanized animals each year. It is also hoping that it can teach the community the importance of making sure that stray animals are taken care of properly.