LUV 4 Animals is kicking off 2022 by helping 22 adopters pay for the spay or neuter of a dog or cat that comes from the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility. / All photos submitted by Desiree Poling

Lewis, Upshur animal rescue group to assist 22 homes in adopting shelter pets in 2022

Editor’s note: The animals pictured in this story may or may not still be available for adoption. Please check with the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility by calling 304-472-3865.

BUCKHANNON – LUV 4 Animals is kicking off 2022 by helping 22 adopters pay for the spay or neuter of a dog or cat that comes from the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility.

LUV 4 Animals president Desiree Poling said the new-year initiative is intended to make it easier for people to adopt and help make room for more animals at the shelter.

“When you adopt from LUAC, you get a voucher that gives you $50 towards a spay or neuter here locally at several area vets, but then there’s still a bit of a cost left to the adopter,” Poling said. “Depending upon what vet you go to, that could be $50 more or $150 more dollars to get that animal spayed or neutered, so what LUV 4 Animals would like to do is cover the remaining costs of spay or neuter for those animals for the first 22 animals that are adopted starting [Dec. 23, 2021].”

Pictured here and below are some of the dogs who were awaiting adoption at the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility as of Dec. 22, 2021. / Photos submitted by Desiree Poling

The 22 adopters will have to utilize the services of one of the local veterinarians who accept the vouchers or through one of their spay-and-neuter clinics.

“You have to be signed up on our lists, so I will have a list running with staff at [Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility] so people can sign up when they have decided they’re adopting,” Poling said. “That way we can keep track and make sure that we’re not over-promising, because we would love to do it for everybody, but unfortunately we don’t have those funds.”

Animal rescue volunteers with LUV 4 Animals developed the project after learning that LUAC was abnormally full for this time of year. Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility director Jan Cochran said that as of Dec. 22, the shelter was housing 19 dogs and about 30 cats.

“Usually around Christmastime, we might have 10 dogs at the most, so it’s a little weird this year,” Cochran said. “We do have one quarantine case for biting, but we have a lot of owner surrenders, and we have a couple strays. One owner said they were moving out-of-state for a better job and couldn’t take the animal with them, and there’s probably three in here where the owner said the energy levels were just more than they could handle.”

They have also seen an uptick in kittens, which typically don’t start coming in until spring.

“We had one lady in the last two days who brought us 11 of them. Her neighbor won’t do anything about them, so she talked to him, and he told her he would [take care of them] earlier this year, but another litter was born,” Cochran said. “She decided to gather them up and bring them here.”

Cochran said it would be hard to take in any more animals until after the holidays are over.

“Right now, if someone walks in with a dog, if it’s a dog catcher and it’s a stray, we will have to figure out who we can put it with,” Cochran said. “There are some dogs here that are very friendly, and we could put another dog with them. If someone calls me right now so they can surrender, I’m going to tell them to hold it until after holidays because I do know next week (Dec. 26, 2021, through Jan. 1, 2022) that one of our rescue groups that we work with is wanting to pull four dogs from us, so that should make some room.”

Poling said she is concerned the holiday season will also bring additional owner surrenders.

“We usually you get this influx after the holidays when people have those cute puppies and cute kitties they gave as gifts that aren’t really good gifts, and they end up coming back,” Poling said. “I’m very worried that we’re starting out this way to see where things might end up later, so we would love to go ahead and clear as many animals as we can and get them into great, loving homes and open up that space for anybody who might be needing to come in.”

She said animals should never be given as a gift unless the person is ready to take care of the animal long term.

“Animals are not gifts; they’re a 10-to-15-year commitments or more if you’re lucky, so people really should just stick with toys,” Poling said. “A lot of the time, people just see a Christmas puppy or Christmas kitty and think they’re cute, but those are the ones we get back in January or February because nobody wants to take care of them, or it wasn’t well thought-out.”

LUAC will be open during its normal hours Wednesday, Dec. 29 and until noon on Thursday, Dec. 30. The Mud Lick Road facility will remain closed after noon Thursday and will not reopen again until after the New Year.

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