Shelter takes big steps in helping its residents

Shelter takes big steps in helping its residents

The Huntington Cabell-Wayne animal shelter has made drastic improvements since 2014. Adoption rates are up and euthanasia rates are down.

Marshall students are familiar with puppies on campus, a result of various campus organizations hosting Rent-A-Puppy events. For stressed out students, sometimes holding a puppy is just what the doctor ordered. But in all reality, it is the dogs who need this time even more.

Events like Rent-A-Puppy are just a small part of a complete turnaround in the organization and effectiveness of the Huntington Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter. The shelter has made drastic improvements in just the past couple of years. In 2014, the shelter took in 4,126 animals. Of that number, 1,529 animals were adopted that year, while a total of 2,597 animals were euthanized. That is 44 percent of dogs and 91 percent of cats that came to the shelter in 2014.

Members of the community and the shelter’s board of directors wanted these numbers to change, so through community action and partnership with rescues, the shelter has now seen a difference in their numbers. In just this past year, 2100 animals were adopted, while only 835 were euthanized. That is 14 percent of dogs, and 43 percent of cats.

Director of the shelter Scott Iseli credits these numbers to shelter staff, its board of directors, local rescues like Advocates Saving Adoptable Pets (ASAP), One by One Animal Advocates and Louie’s Legacy, and an outpouring of community support and donations.

“It’s everybody,” Iseli said. “It started with the staff working with the rescues and the communities donating. We didn’t have the community support in the past. It was viewed as a negative place, because the euthanasia rates were so high, and the directors didn’t work with rescues. We need rescues. We need them to help us. If they’re not here we’re going to have to euthanize. We are not a no-kill shelter, because we have to go by state laws. But we can make those numbers better if everyone gets involved and helps.”

Things are looking up for shelter animals. Recently due to community funding and donations, the shelter has put in a new heating and air conditioning system this past summer, so animals are less sick. Also, the shelter was able to build a new barn facility on site, giving more space for more animals.

“The shelter is a better place,” Iseli said. “It is more friendly. We do off-site adoptions. Some people don’t want to come to the shelter—It’s a sad place, it is. And they get to see the dogs off site on the weekends at different stores. We have two big adoption events here, one in the spring time and one in the fall. It’s an open house. We have live music, we have free food and drinks, trying to get everybody involved.”

More adoption opportunities are leading to more adoptions, and Iseli encourages people to adopt animals from the shelter.

“You are actually saving a life here,” he said. “Here, these dogs need somebody to come to adopt them. We have amazing dogs here.”

Franklin Norton can be contacted at [email protected]