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To experience unconditional love, get a pet. He or she doesn’t care if you wear designer clothes, what kind of vehicle you drive or the kind of house you live in.
They accept you for who you are. They are faithful companions and friends. They don’t judge and they don’t hold grudges.
But last year in Lancaster County, 4,250 weren’t given a chance to become a pet. That was the number euthanized at the Lancaster County Animal Shelter because there was no place in the county to hold them until they could be adopted.
People like Bob Hunter, B.J. Mishoe, Krista Moore and Angelo Sciuli want to change that. They and other animal lovers are trying to form a humane society in Lancaster County. Hunter, Mishoe and Sciulli have all adopted animals from the animal shelter. Mishoe provides a foster home to about 30 dogs a year and pays their veterinarian expenses out of her own pocket.
Hunter said he and others were inspired to start the nonprofit organization after hearing Lancaster County Animal Control Director Joel Hinson cite the numbers of animals euthanized each year.
“It’s unreal,” said Hunter, who owns five cats and one dog. “It just kind of got to me.”
The group’s goals are to establish a “no-kill” animal shelter, organize fundraisers to buy a transport vehicle for a low-cost spay and neuter program, encourage adoptions of rescued animals, establish a network of foster homes and educate the public about the care of animals.
The group wants to find an acre of land, build a picnic-type shelter with pens and house the animals until they are adopted. The volunteers think the animals can be adopted if they are given more time. If an animal at the Lancaster County Animal Shelter is not reclaimed or adopted, it is put to sleep after five days.
Irresponsible pet owners who don’t take care of their pets properly contribute to the high numbers of unwanted pets. Pets that are allowed to wander often end up pregnant. When owners can’t get rid of the litters of puppies and kittens, they sometimes take them to other parts of the county and abandon them.
Some owners may think they are being humane when they pack kittens or puppies and their mothers in cardboard boxes, drive to a densely populated area, open the car door, put the animals out on the highway and drive off. But they are not. Animals that can’t fend for themselves starve or are killed on the highways. For those that survive, the cycle continues.
Humane Society volunteers hope to educate these pet owners and make them more responsible.
The organization’s immediate needs are a vehicle, donations for the no-kill shelter, gift certificates to Animal Supply House or Ace Hardware for puppy shots, puppy medications, blankets or used towels, used or new crates and carriers, chew toys, collars and leashes.
If you would like to donate or get involved in the Lancaster County Humane Society, call Hunter at 283-9155, Mishoe at 286-6019 or Moore at 285-0485.
As Hinson said, “A lot of nice animals are being put to sleep.”
They could have been your best friend.