Shelter has new group rescue protocols
HUNTINGTON -- Board members for the Huntington-Cabell-Wayne Animal Control Shelter approved measures Tuesday that establish new protocols for rescue groups who want to adopt animals.
The basic premise of the new guidelines is to ensure equitable rights for the public and the rescue groups, said shelter director Jim Cumm and Cabell County Manager Chris Tatum, who serves as a liaison for the board.
The protocols call for rescue volunteers to be accompanied by shelter employees at all times, only pulling animals from the adoption floor and barn area, animals being paid for at time of adoption and documentation of placement of an animal within 24 hours.
The protocols also call for the rescue organization to visit the shelter rather than calling or texting employees, while also designating no more than three liaisons to interact with the shelter.
Animals that have been at the shelter for less than 30 days will be adopted to rescue groups at the same cost as what the public pays: $95 for dogs and $75 for cats. However, after 30 days, the cost for rescue groups will be reduced to $45 for female dogs and cats and $35 for males.
The director also will provide a weekly list of animals that have been at the shelter the longest, and they can be adopted out to the rescue groups at no cost.
Establishing rescue group protocols was a direction discussed at the board's mid-May meeting, after members of One by One Animal Advocates asked for formal guidelines regarding notification of euthanization and the consistency of the shelter's spay and neuter fees. Tatum said the former is addressed in the new protocol by way of the weekly list that Cumm can put together, which also can include sick animals that could be at risk of being put down.
Tatum said the new policy is not unreasonable and compares with policies of other shelters throughout the state. To ensure the new structure is working, the protocols will be reviewed in 60 days.
Amy Blankenship, a rescue coordinator from One by One, an organization that serves as a catalyst for adoption between local animal control shelters and animal rescue groups along the East Coast, said the guidelines in the new policy are acceptable to her group except for the adoption costs. Until now, rescue groups were given the discount immediately, which she said is imperative to continue the mission of serving the East Coast rescue groups.
"Rescues cannot pay for the full price," Blankenship said, citing other area shelters that provide a discount to rescue groups all the time. "We've gone through this with them. We asked for no hold time. We feel we should be able to come in and pull any dog at any time at a rescue discount."
She also said that the quicker her group can rescue animals, the less likely they are to get sick while housed in the shelter, which can bring down the euthanasia rates.
In other news, Cumm discussed the need for an additional barn with stalls to handle any intakes of horses. Last week, four horses were rescued from a farm in Wayne County. Two were able to go to a horse rescue site, but one had to come to the animal shelter, along with a pot-bellied pig.
Board members discussed a stable across the street that is owned by the city of Huntington, but Tatum said it's an old building that provides more questions than answers. However, board member Bob Pasley, who is president of the Wayne County Commission, asked whether Huntington could sell the property and give the proceeds to the animal shelter to put toward a new barn.
Cumm said having additional space that is separate from the main shelter would provide a better environment for the animals and staff.
"It would be great for quarantined animals or bite-case dogs," Cumm said, calling for the need of a "true isolation area."
Cumm also told Pasley and board member Nancy Cartmill, president of the Cabell County Commission, that certification training is nearly complete for the staff, with two additional trainings for animal control officers to attend in July and August. That will bring all the employees up to date on a number of certifications, including vet tech and euthanasia.
He also said fundraising and donations have gone well in helping to upgrade the facility, noting that a shelter in Washington County, Md., has agreed to donate used kennels that they are replacing. Cumm said the kennels are an upgrade to what they have now in the outdoor kennel.
Cumm also asked board members to consider approving raises to employees to bring them closer to industry standards. That includes increasing the animal care technician's pay to $8 an hour and the officers to $11, $12 and $13 an hour (for the three officers who have been there).
Tatum said he'll provide a complete financial analysis to board members at the next meeting in July.
The shelter is located at 1901 James River Road, Huntington, and can be reached at 304-696-5551 or online at http://www.huntington-cabell-wayne-animal-control-shelter.org.
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