BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission agreed to pay for $3,000 worth of spay and neutering services for LUV 4 Animals.
Robin Keough, vice president of LUV 4 Animals, attended the Sept. 9 Upshur County Commission meeting to request the funds. LUV 4 Animals volunteers work closely with the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility to save cats’ and dogs’ lives by transporting them to no-kill rescues, socializing them and overall, making them more adoptable.
“LUV 4 Animals is a 501C3, tax exempt, public charity since 2016, and our primary mission is to facilitate the adoption of shelter animals at the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility by raising funds for their spays and neuters before the animals leave the facility,” Keough said. “We foster animals, we network, and we transport animals to out-of-state rescues and vet appointments. We also work to decrease pet overpopulation in the community by helping people access low-cost spays and neuters, and we also help pay the bills in emergency situations for seriously injured dogs both at the facility and in the community.”
In 2020, LUV 4 Animals helped with amputations of limbs, multiple X-rays, multiple purchases of antibiotics for ear, eye and skin infections, including mange and ringworm.
“In 2020 we paid for the spay and neuter of 34 shelter dogs and 56 cats,” Keough said. “Most of them were transported and fostered by our volunteers, and every one of those animals were placed in a home. We act in faith that if we invest the money in them, they will get adopted.”
LUV 4 Animals has already spent $2,600 this September on spaying and neutering.
“When we couldn’t get a shelter animal into the vet – a lot of vets are really booked right now – we send donations to the rescues to help defray the costs of the vetting on their end, and we sent $3,500 this year, to other rescues,” Keough said.
Eighty-nine shelter cats have been spayed or neutered this year, which helps get them adopted.
“The Lewis-Upshur facility has drastically reduced its euthanasia rate, and I think Jan Cochran would confirm that it is due to our efforts of spaying and neutering the animals prior to adoption,” Keough said. “People want to adopt a healthy vetted animal and cats in previous years, their euthanasia rate was close to 90 percent. Last year was it was 30 percent, which, we still have a long way to go, but I think this year is going to be even better.”
No healthy, adoptable dogs were euthanized for lack of space last year.
“Rescues appreciate getting a fully vetted animal. I checked for prices of spay and neuter clinics in the Baltimore area because that’s where we send a lot of our dogs and they quoted me a price of $634 to spay or neuter dogs in Baltimore and that did not include a rabies or a Lyme disease test,” Keough said. “I contacted a clinic in Pittsburgh, and they quoted me a price of between $500 and $700 to spay or neuter a dog, depending on the age and if the dog required an overnight stay or IV fluids and the weight of the dog.”
Keough requested the $3,000 to facilitate the spays and neuters because their fundraising efforts have been dampened due to COVID-19.
“We have so much community support; we’re just a handful of volunteers that are able to go out there and walk the dogs and drive out to rescues, but we have support in the community, and they really help us a lot financially,” Keough said. “I don’t want to leave them dry. Everyone’s been really digging deep in their pockets to help us.”
Commissioner Sam Nolte made a motion to approve Keough’s request, which passed unanimously, enabling LUV 4 Animals to send the county commission the bills for the spays and neuters and the county will cover $3,000 worth of procedures.