Animal Welfare Coalition gets to work
Monterey, Va. –
The Animal Welfare Coalition is active in the tri-county area and recruiting new members.
Highland County resident Corena Huffman describes the purpose of the Animal Welfare Coalition.
“Well, the purpose of the new group is to collaborate,” she said. “We want to pool our resources from, currently, three counties to do what we can do to network, to help one another, to save animals from the pound. Find them homes, transport them to other areas, rescue them, foster them, whatever is needed to help each other in the tri-county area, which is now serving Pocahontas, Bath and Highland.”
Huffman says the area has a serious problem.
“It’s really serious,” she said. “We’re in a very rural area. Animals are a surplus here, if you will. Sometimes, they’re a commodity. If they’re not working in whatever lifestyle – they are left as strays or turned loose or relinquished. The economy has had a huge impact on people being able to keep their pets. They may be moving to another home, where they can’t have animals moving in with relatives and they just can’t afford to take care of their animal anymore. So, there’s a surplus, if you will, of terrific animals that just find themselves homeless and that’s their only negative cause, if you will.”
Coalition members include members of county humane organizations.
Sherry Turner is a member of the Pocahontas County Humane Society.
“I think that it’s really going to help our smaller groups to have this larger group, with better and bigger fundraising, to help spread the funds out,” she said. “We have connections with this Animal Welfare Coalition that the Humane Society in Pocahontas County does not have. So, it’s really going to help our Humane Society grow – networking and helping the animals.”
Karen Brower is a member of the Highland County SPCA.
“I think it is a good idea,” she said. “I think we can all come together and maybe do things that the individual organizations cannot do. We’ll have more manpower and we can be a support system to each other.”
Monterey resident Jeannie Lou Hull describes what she gets out of her work helping animals.
“It can be very, very emotional an tough, but the rewards are when we can help an animal,” she said. “When we can save a dog’s life, a cat’s life, any other animal. The rewards are a dog, who has never known a family to be inside a house, to be off a chain, to know what it is to be warm and loved, is in the house being loved on by children. Scared animals – every dog that I’ve gotten off of a chain has been terrified of thunderstorms and they spend their whole lives outside. And then they’re in the house and they’re safe and they’re not cold anymore. They’re not hot anymore. They’re not hungry or thirsty. That is the most rewarding thing to me. If I can just save one dog.”
Jean Von Shilling, a founder of the Bath Animal Welfare Foundation, thought a regional group would be able to accomplish more.
“We want to meet the needs of the region and we feel we can do that best by working together and sharing our problems and coming up with some solutions,” she said. “We welcome local groups in the region. We’re now in three counties and so, we welcome anyone who is interested in animal welfare to join in, in any way. They don’t have to be specially trained. There’s a place for everyone who wishes to volunteer.”
Anyone interested in helping with the Animal Welfare Coalition should call Dot Terry at (540) 468-3096 or Geoff Hamill at (304) 799-2637.