puppy

Register-Herald file photo

Cats and dogs such as this one housed at the Raleigh County Animal Shelter could face even more uncertain futures as the Raleigh County Humane Society has been forced to cut back shelter hours because of budget concerns.

Dogs and cats of the Humane Society of Raleigh County are feeling "fur-gotten," and they need animal lovers to step up with support. Otherwise, they may become homeless.

About 185 animals are living at the county animal shelter on Grey Flats Road where staff provides a clean, temporary home, food and vet services, including spay and neuter operations and vaccinations.

This past fiscal year, the humane society saw a $75,000 drop in donations, while the cost of vaccines and veterinary care rose by nearly $100,000. Funding from the county and City of Beckley covers only a quarter of operating costs.

The shortage has forced the Raleigh Humane Society Board of Directors to vote to cut the hours that the shelter is open to the public. 

"We are desperate to recover some of this deficit so we can return to normal operations," Suzan Loving, Director of Development, said Tuesday. " If we can’t, there is a looming possibility of us having to close our doors entirely."

 New hours of operation are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 11:30 am  to 4:30 pm.

 "We regret having to close our doors to the public these additional days, but the decrease we have experienced in normal donations, coupled with the rising costs, have left us unable to operate on a regular schedule,” said Loving.

Adoptive and foster families are always needed, along with donations that will allow shelter staff to provide care for the animals.

Food, cat litter, bleach and money gifts are all needed, said Naomi Mitchem, who is the correspondence secretary for the board of directors.

"The community's always been real good to support us, and we need them to support us," Mitchem said Tuesday. "If people want to donate money, that's fine.

"Supplies are always needed," she added. "Bleach is No. 1."

Cutting operational hours means that shelter animals won't have visitors stopping by to "meet" them as often. This reduces their chances of getting adopted, Mitchem said.

"It's adding money to take care of them while they're here," she explained. "If a cage is full of dogs, we can't take another dog that needs to get here.

"Adopters are really important right now, too," Mitchem added. "We need people to come in.

"We have great animals," she said. "We really do.

"They're all spayed and neutered and have their shots, and the dogs have a microchip."

Animals may be viewed on Facebook during hours that the shelter is closed.

Donations may be brought or mailed to 325 Grey Flats Road, Beckley, WV, 25801.

Supplies may be brought by the shelter during non-business hours, if staff is present. Donations may also be dropped at adoption events hosted around the community, Mitchem said.

Information on adoptions, fostering and donations is available by calling 304-253-8921.

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