It's business as usual during holiday season at Pa. animal shelters

December 14, 2010|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Debbie DeWees, executive director of the Antietam Humane Society in Waynesboro, Pa., holds Bella, a Siamese cat. Behind DeWees is a tree containing cards listing donations from residents.
By Richard F. Belisle/Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Walking into one of the two Franklin County animal shelters at the last minute on Christmas Eve for a puppy will net nothing but an empty sack.

“You have to go through our regular application process,” said Debbie DeWees, executive director of the Antietam Humane Society in Waynesboro, Pa.

The same rules apply at Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter in Chambersburg, said Jennifer Vanderau, director of communications there.

It isn’t that dogs and cats can’t be adopted in time for Christmas, it’s just that the holiday season is “business as usual,” officials at both facilities said.

The number of adoptions don’t increase around Christmastime, DeWees said.

Average monthly dog and cat populations remain about the same during the season, DeWees said.

At Antietam, the dog population is about 25 in any given month. The numbers for cats range from 50 to 60, she said.

The Waynesboro shelter adopts out 15 to 20 dogs in an average month and six to 10 cats, according to DeWees.

Cumberland Valley houses 25 to 30 dogs. In October, 27 dogs were dopted. In November, 12 were adopted. Cats number 60 to 70 with about 20 to 25 a month going out, Vanderau said.

It costs $127.20, including tax, to adopt a dog from Antietam, DeWees said. Included is the cost for spaying or neutering, microchips and vaccinations. Adopting a cat from the Waynesboro shelter costs $100 plus tax, she said.

A puppy younger than 6 months old can be adopted for $120. A dog 6 months or older is $105.

“Everybody wants a puppy,” Vanderau said.

Christmas is the time of year when most donations come in.

Each year, each facility mails letters seeking donations — cash, food, kitty litter, toys and chews, or kennel items.

Christmas trees in each office are decorated from top to bottom with little white cards showing the donations that have come in to date.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser. It’s what keeps us going,” said Jamie Kasarda, executive director at Cumberland Valley. “People are generous.”

Antietam Humane Society covers townships and boroughs in southern Franklin County. Cumberland Valley handles municipalities in the county’s northern sections.

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