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Spreading Pawsitivity

City of Liberty Animal Shelter faces crowding, especially during the holidays.

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Check out a video package by The Bell and KLHS’s Delaney Tarpley about the shelter.

   Some nuzzle right up to visitors, burrowing their nose against hands, waiting for affection and love. Others bark and jump at the sound of a doorbell with the promise of their caring owner. But how would it be different if that pet didn’t have a home?

   The answer is simple but tragic. They would most likely be at a kill shelter, the City of Liberty Animal Shelter. If a dog or cat is there for too long or the shelter runs out of space or resources, they euthanize the animal.

   Many people think the shelter is only full during the holiday season, but this isn’t the case. Lehman said the shelter is packed all year long. She said the reason people think it’s only full during the holiday season is that that’s when people come to the shelter the most, looking to add a pet to their family for Christmas.

   Though the shelter is full year-round, there are some unique challenges the shelter faces during the holidays. Mantia has a theory about this.

A dog waits patiently for the day it will find its forever home. “I would say the same reason as why we would care about children in need of homes is why we should care about animals in need of homes,” Animal control officer Savannah Lehman said. Photo by Charlene Nguyen

   “I think what happens during the holiday season is people tend to adopt animals and then they decide they’re too old and they want a new puppy or a new kitten for Christmas,” Mantia said. “So they’ll take their old dog or cat to the shelter.”

Gift Rules

   Another challenge the shelter faces during the holiday season is people giving pets as gifts. While the intentions are pure, the gesture does more harm than good if the pet is given to an unfit home.

   “Do not give someone an animal as a gift,” Lehman said. “Allow that person to seek the appropriate pet for them. Unless that individual has expressed they definitely want a specific type and they’re an adult, I think you should let them make that decision on their own.”

   The shelter uses every resource available to help the animals find proper homes.

   “We try to get the word out on social media,” said Animal Control Officer Savannah Lehman who works at the facility. “We also utilize rescue facilities that can come in and take animals from us. There are private organizations that have a number of volunteers who can take animals to adoption events over the holiday season to help promote them and get them adopted a bit faster.”

 

As the only pet shelter in Liberty, it is understandable that it needs all the help it can get. The Veterinary Center of Liberty gives assistance whenever it can.

“If there is a sick kitten or something that they find and they need us to help with medical issues, we will keep the animal and we will put it up for adoption,” said senior Harlie Winters, who works at the Veterinary Center. “Or if one of our employees finds an animal, we bring him or her in and make sure they get the care they need.”

How to Help

To improve the problem of lost pets being picked up by the shelter, it’s important for Liberty residents to identify their pets.

“Use collars, tags, or microchips to make pets identifiable,” Lehman said. “Rather than completing a stray and having them available for adoption, we can help reunite them with their owners more easily,” Lehman said. “Another thing they could do is be a little bit more understanding with their animals and willing to complete [behavioral] training rather than surrender them to the facility.”

The shelter needs volunteers to help. Senior Carly Mantia, a volunteer at Wayside Waifs, adds another way to help out is by donating money.

   “I think volunteering at your local shelter around this time of year is a great thing to do,” Mantia said. “A lot of shelters are low on supplies so donating things like treats and food is a great way to help them out.”

   Lehman shared why people should care about these animals.

   “Because lives matter,” she said. “I would say the same reason as for why we would care about children in need of homes is why we should care about animals in need of homes.”

Two dogs snuggle up in a dog bed in their kennel at the shelter. “[People] could be a little bit more understanding with their animals and willing to complete [behavioral] training rather than surrender them to the facility,” Animal Control officer Savannah Lehman said. Photo by Emma McDonald

 

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Spreading Pawsitivity