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Team of animal lovers joins forces for pet care

January 30, 2011
By MARK LAW, Staff writer

WINTERSVILLE - A team of animal lovers has been formed to care for cats and dogs at the new Jefferson County animal shelter.

The county commissioners have entered into an agreement with the Jefferson County Humane Society to care for cats at the shelter and hold public pet adoptions.

The Ohio Revised Code states the county is responsible for care of and enforcement of laws regarding dogs, but it does not authorize any similar effort on behalf of cats. Sally Wehr, Jefferson County Humane Society president, said most counties in Ohio partner with a nonprofit agency in regard to feline animal welfare issues.

"This concept is not a new one for Jefferson County," Wehr said. "For many years, the Animal Welfare League provided care for felines and other operating support in a partnership with the county. Now, the humane society is pleased to unite with the commissioners and the county's shelter employees to provide those services. For over two years, we have all worked together on a limited basis to do off-site adoptions, Petfinder updates, medication assistance and help with rescues. Accordingly, we expect a smooth transition into this new partnership."

Wehr said the humane society will continue its other animal welfare programs, including employment of the county humane officers. The humane officers, who will be based at the shelter, will be able to work daily with the county dog warden.

"This allows for immediate direct communication between everyone. It is an ideal and logical action that enables the new facility to act as the foundation for animal care and control in Jefferson County," Wehr said.

Beth Fulton, a humane officer, will be employed as the JCHS's shelter manager in charge of cats and humane service programs, Wehr said. Fulton is a certified veterinarian technician and has 24 years of working experience in all areas of animal care, including animal shelters, Wehr said.

"An organized, trained and reliable volunteer program is one of our next goals," Wehr said. "Volunteers are our lifeline, and we are looking for people who want to make a difference and be a part of the solution. If anyone is interested in volunteering, and may have a few hours in a day, a few hours in a week or even a few hours a month, we can find a spot to fit them. We urge anyone that may have considered volunteering to call now. Contact us at (740) 266-6476."

Funding is an important issue to the county humane society since it doesn't receive money from national organizations, Wehr said. She said the group is actively working to raise funds and write grants.

"Because of the new partnership arrangement with the county, that association will enable us to meet more grant guidelines. Consequently, we will be actively pursuing more available grants. There are also several major Jefferson County Humane Society fundraisers scheduled throughout the year," Wehr said.

The Jefferson County Humane Society on March 5-6 will sponsor the first of many visits to the new shelter from the R.A.S.C.A.L. Unit.

The Roaming Animal Sterilization Clinic at Low cost Unit consists of two mobile veterinary hospitals, based in Dublin, that travel throughout the state with the help of local humane organizations, pounds and shelters to bring affordable pet sterilization and routine veterinary care to individuals in need.

When planning the new shelter, the driveway actually was designed to accommodate these large traveling units, Wehr said.

The inside of the animal shelter was designed to reduce stress on the animals, save energy and make the job of taking care of the animals as easy as possible, she said.

"For many people, how animals are treated is part of the measurement of a community's standards and quality of life. The new Jefferson County Animal Shelter is an asset for the county, a chance of life for the animals, something we can be very proud of, and it is all thanks to the voters in Jefferson County who made this dream a reality," Wehr said.

(Law can be contacted at

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