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Challenges are around every corner for Sally Berryman and other members of the Coffee County Humane Society. Animal neglect, overran animal shelters and exhausted rescues are becoming more discernible throughout the county.
As summer approaches, the group is pleading for help from the community and pet owners.
“Owner responsibility is a big problem,” said Berryman, an active member of the humane society.
“The places I go often and see that have animals in terrible shape – on the outside you will see a satellite dish, beer cans and cigarette butts,” she said, adding that horse neglect seems to be on the rise. “I tell them that if they would set aside $5-10 a week they would have $250-500 emergency fund set up and if these animals are really family members then they are certainly worth that. They need a financial and emotional investment.”
Poor ownership responsibility manifests itself in different ways, Berryman said. Most commonly pets aren’t spayed or neutered, which leads to overpopulation of local animal shelters, a bigger strain on rescues and, ultimately, a higher euthanasia rate.
“It increases euthanasia rates because there is nowhere for them to go,” she said.
The humane society helps low-income families with these procedures to ease the burden on foster families and prevent liters of dogs and kittens from running on the loose. Between April 1, 2012 and March 31 of this year, the humane society helped fund 199 cat spays, 144 cat neuters, 105 dog spays and 73 dog neuters for a cost of $23,604. That adds up to 47 percent of the organizations vet expenditures for the year.
“We try to help with as many spays and neuters for low income families as we can,” explained Berryman, who added that costs for those procedures will be rising this year. “We encourage people to not get into [pet ownership] unless you can take care of the vet expenses. We can’t take care of 55,000 people [in this county].”
With so many pets in need of help the humane society is asking for volunteers and foster homes.
“We provide vet care and food for animals,” she said. “We have members who are having their own health problems or are just exhausted and burnt out [from all this work.]”
Berryman blames economic conditions for mal-nourished pets, low donations and high euthanasia rates at local shelters. …
Continue reading the complete story in this week’s (May 22) print edition of the Manchester Times. Click here to subscribe to the print and/or full online edition of the paper.