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Hundreds transform animal shelter

August 27, 2018

Executive director Courtney Proctor Cross carries one of the adoptable dogs as volunteers assist the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Control shelter on Sunday in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — For the animals at the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter, Sunday is usually spent in their cages with little interaction with humans, but this Sunday was a different story.

Hundreds of volunteers were at the shelter Sunday to clean, paint, install dog beds, move cages and all around transform the shelter. So many people attended that cars had to park down James River Road.

“We can have a much better shelter if we work together,” said Courtney Proctor Cross, the new executive director of the shelter.

The long-term goal is to raise enough funding to build an entirely new shelter facility, which would fix many of the shelters issues like poor drainage and ventilation, making it healthier for all. The short-term goal is to hire a vet technician and get enough volunteers to care for the thousands of cats that come to the shelter each year.

“We only have six employees,” Proctor Cross said. “It’s more work than six employees can do. So right now all the cat care is managed through me and volunteers. That’s why we need a schedule of people that are willing to commit to one day a week from 10 to 12 or 3 to 5 because we do this seven days a week to care for the cats.”

Teresa Adkins, a volunteer with One by One Animal Advocates, is one of those volunteering with the cats, including in the cat room, fostering cats in her own home and organizing other fosters. She said over 100 cats have been sent to rescue in just the three weeks Proctor Cross has been at the shelter, but that many have already come back through their doors.

“Mostly we need foster homes,” she said. “Right now I have a cat, Bowe. He was hit head-on by car, he had a fractured face. He’s the sweetest cat I’ve had in my life. It’s so rewarding because if it hadn’t been for One by One, he wouldn’t have had a chance. If I wouldn’t have offered to foster him – I had to tube feed him for two months. He was on 10 to 12 medicines a day. I honestly think he knows it, and he’s so appreciative.”

One by One will assist fosters, including reimbursing for supplies.

But for those who can’t foster or make it to the shelter to volunteer with the cats, there are still plenty of ways to get involved, Proctor Cross said. Walking a dog takes half an hour. From home, people are making homemade dog treats the pups get at night and bandanas with a calming pheromone. Donating money is also helpful, as the shelter always needs food, litter, cleaning supplies and other items.

“I’ve been volunteering here for five years because it’s my passion, and it’s always been a dream of mine to see this happen – the community take ownership like we are seeing today,” said Martha Cummings, shelter volunteer coordinator and president of Advocates Saving Adoptable Pets, or ASAP. “This is the first step in that. I hope a lot of them continue in various ways.”

Cummings said volunteering with animals is rewarding because when you give them love, they give you love right back.

Anyone interested in volunteering or fostering should contact the shelter at 304-696-5551 or message them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HuntingtonCabellWayneAnimalShelter/.

Monetary donations can also be made to the shelter through the Western West Virginia Animal Rescue Alliance on PayPal at wwvara@gmail.com.

Donations can also be mailed to 216 11th Ave. West, Huntington, WV 25701

The shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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