PRINCETON — People wanting to add a dog or cat to their lives were waiting Wednesday morning outside the Mercer County Animal Shelter when they learned that a local grocery store chain is covering the adoption fees.
The Mercer County Animal Shelter announced Tuesday that it was going on Code Red, meaning that euthanasia may be necessary to make more room for dogs and cats. The shelter had about 95 dogs Tuesday and around 50 cats.
A Code Red was declared last July when the county animal shelter again had to house dogs in the hallways because its facilities were getting too crowded. Director Stacey Harman said soon after the second Code Red was announced that while the shelter saw plenty of dogs and cats adopted in July, the dog kennels and cat housing soon filled up again.
Grant’s Supermarket stepped up last July and paid the reduced adoption fees so more people would be willing to take home a new dog, puppy, cat or kitten. Harman received a call Wednesday morning from Ron Martin, co-owner of Grant’s Supermarket, who told her that the grocery chain was going to help the shelter again.
The grocery store chain will be paying the reduced $10 adoption fee for both dogs and cats until Sept. 9, Harman said.
This fee includes spay/neuter, a pain shot, deworming, rabies vaccination and first vaccinations. New pet owners will also receive a voucher for a free bag of dog or cat food at any Grant’s Supermarket location.
“Thank you,” she told Martin and Grant’s Supermarket. “You’re preventing me from having to make difficult choices.”
An uproar of barking dogs could be heard outside the shelter. As much space as possible was being used to house them.
“We have to put them in crates, offices or wherever we can stick them,” Harman said.
A big homeless animal population keeps the shelter filled, she stated, adding that spaying and neutering dogs and cats is the only way to keep down the numbers of homeless pets.
Harman is on a committee looking into creating a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Mercer County. The committee is still looking for a possible location.
“If we could get that up and running running, that would be such an asset,” she said.
Inside the shelter, prospective owners were meeting dogs in a room where they could get acquired. George Santiago of the Bluefield area and his son, Alexander, were waiting to speak with a shelter clerk while mother Kristy Santiago cuddled a puppy. It was a Chihuahua mix.
“I wanted a smaller dog because we’re not allowed to have big dogs,” she said.
Three young women were waiting near the visiting room to meet a dog.
“We came in here yesterday looking,” said Taylor Henson, who plays softball for Bluefield State University. “We’re just wanting to meet ours, hopefully.”
“Hopefully we’re going to meet Paisley,” added teammate Lainey Palmer.
Teddy Church of Mercer County and his fiancee, Vanessa Earnest, were waiting with their 1-year-old daughter, Piper, to adopt a dog named Smiley.
“We had one dog pass away,” Church said, adding they wanted a dog that Piper could grow up with.
The Mercer County Animal Shelter is open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The shelter can be contacted at 304-425-2838.
— Contact Greg Jordan at [email protected]