By Karen Hall
Volunteers are working six days a week at the Lewisburg Animal Shelter, and many goals for the Shelter have been accomplished.
"Everything's great there," Tisha Poling told Lewisburg councilmen at their special called meeting last week.
Poling has been involved from the beginning in the drive to get Marshall County's homeless dogs adopted out of the shelter, rather than euthanized.
At first, her group was called LASA, Lewisburg Animal Shelter Adoptions.
"It became apparent that the shelter was only a symptom of a larger community issue," Poling told councilmen, so LASA was replaced by Promoting Animal Welfare in the South Now. In addition to its work with the shelter, PAWS Now will be expanding into community education and development of programs such as low-cost spay and neuter.
A major goal for PAWS Now was to get volunteer assistance for the shelter, and this has been accomplished, with 17 volunteers taking turns to work shifts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Lunchtime, after work, and Saturday-morning adoptions are now consistently possible for the first time.
"The volunteers are doing an excellent job," confirmed City Manager Tommy Engram.
Another goal was renovation of the shelter building on Woodside Avenue to improve housing and safety conditions for both dogs and humans.
PAWS Now raised the money and completed Phase 1 of the renovations, building a roof and concrete pad for five new dog runs, each donated by one of the county's veterinarians.
Together the City of Lewisburg and PAWS Now closed up the back wall of the shelter, built exercise areas, and created a puppy isolation room. They also made the shelter more pleasant for potential adopters to visit, with a fenced meet-and-greet area and a redecorated reception area.
PAWS Now has raised $4,300 for additional indoor kennels, and these will be installed soon, increasing the capacity of the shelter from 20 to as many as 34 dogs.
Poling called the shelter build-out "a wonderful thing."
"We've accomplished things in the last three months I could never have imagined," she said.
Engram agreed with her, thanking Kenny Ring and his Public Works Department, and also the laborers from the jail, especially one who knows how to lay block.
A change that Poling wants to see is the administration of vaccines and wormer when dogs are admitted to the shelter. PAWS Now has found a company - Webster Veterinary - that will supply parvo/distemper, four-way, and kennel cough vaccines and wormer at prices much lower than charged by local veterinarians.
If all dogs were treated with these cheaper vaccines, Poling told councilmen, as well as getting their spay or neuter and rabies shot from a licensed veterinarian, it would be "a deal for the adopter and the city, a win-win."
The shelter would make more money, the dogs would be healthier, and opportunities to participate in grants and programs would open up, Poling said, urging councilmen to back this change.