BUCKHANNON — As people are adjusting to their new “normal” recently, life is still the same for the animals at the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility. Unfortunately, the facility is not taking volunteers for the time being, and only working one person per shift.
What can be done since people can’t volunteer right now? Donate? Adopt and foster? Different hours given the circumstances or by appointment only? What adjustments has the shelter made?
Although you cannot currently volunteer in person, there are still many ways to make an impact. Adoption is always a great way to help, and now is a perfect time! Many people are staying at home now and have extra time on their hands, which could be utilized to train and help animals adjust to their new lives, according to LUV 4 Animals President Desiree Poling.
Some dogs have anxiety with new routines, even good routines, so they may need let out more often or a bit more attention at first, Poling explained. Training dogs takes time and patience, so in this new “normal” where we may be at home with more time on our hands, it is the perfect time to help your furry friends learn obedience and some neat new tricks. It is also the perfect time to train the pets you already have. It’s never too late to teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks, Poling expressed. She named Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society, or even the dog impossible channel on YouTube as great resources for training ideas and tips. “Just be sure to use common sense and always use positive reinforcement with small sessions and lots of breaks when training,” Poling suggests.
Adoptions from L-UAC are currently available by appointment only. You must call the facility or email [email protected] to make an appointment to adopt or claim your pet.
To adopt, you simply make an appointment, meet the pet, pay the fee and sign the contract stating you will spay or neuter the animal in 30 days if they are not already fixed, and the pet can be yours that day. In Poling’s opinion, the process is not strict enough and because of that, a lot of pets are returned. In some areas, the application process is much more stringent and may take weeks. Due to liability issues, the county does not allow pets to be fostered from the Lewis-Upshur facility; however, if an animal needs medical care, they can be medically fostered. Another way an animal can be fostered is if another rescue wants an animal, but they are unable to meet them immediately. Donations are always needed at L-UAC, but especially now that rescues are unable to hold their typical fundraisers. People can donate via PayPal at [email protected] or by mail at LUV 4 Animals PO BOX 916 Buckhannon, WV 26201.
You can also donate directly to the local Lewis-Upshur facility and by doing so, you can ensure your money is going directly to the animals there, Poling explained. Donations such as leashes, collar, litter, cat food, kitten food, dog food, treats, toys, Kong dog toys, peanut butter, flea treatments, etc. are always welcomed. You can send them directly to the facility or make a scheduled drop off. However, stuffed toys are prohibited.
People can still submit volunteer applications, so they are pre-approved to volunteer once everything is back to normal. “It takes a few weeks on a typical time frame to get approved, as it needs to be approved by the County Commission, so it may take a bit longer now. But having everything in and ready to go will be good to get it moving along,” Poling explained. People can also contact LUV 4 Animals on Facebook to help with rescue transports or fostering as rescues.
LUV 4 Animals stands for Lewis Upshur Volunteers – they are a local group of women from Lewis and Upshur Counties. They go to the pound to get the dogs and cats out of their kennels to allow them socialization, exercise and attention. Volunteers also take photographs of the animals, so adopters can view them in their best light. The organization also raises money in order to pay for vetting. The county pays for a dewormer and DHHP vaccine. Therefore, LUV tries to get most of the animals’ rabies and heartworm tests, and as many as possible spayed and neutered. If an animal comes in hurt, the counties don’t often have the funds to pay for it, so LUV tries to raise money to ensure they can be seen by a vet right away.
The animals need more support, more love, and more time to see that not all people are bad, Poling concluded.
If you have the extra time or resources, please donate to the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility or LUV 4 Animals. The Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility is located at 318 Mud Lick Rd. You can reach them by phone at (304) 472-3865.