November 21, 2012

Donor puts temporary end to Waterville animal shelter's dog food emergency

Humane Society Waterville Area worries the poor economy means the shelter will once again suffer from too many dogs and not enough food

Humane Society Waterville Area is under strain to feed the dogs in its care

By Amy Calder
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- The Humane Society Waterville Area ran out of dog food Tuesday, prompting shelter officials to ask for donations on their Facebook page.

click image to enlarge

Dogs available for adoption sit in their cages at the Humane Society Waterville Area on Webb Road Tuesday. Shelter officials worry that a slow economy will bring in more pets and continue to strain its ability to feed its dogs.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

How to help

The Humane Society Waterville Area asks that donations be mailed to the shelter at 100 Webb Road, Waterville, ME 04901. Donors can also call the shelter at 873-2430.

Shortly after the post, a man donated a week's worth of dog food.

But officials said the number of dogs at the 100 Webb Road shelter is increasing and the dog food shortage likely will continue.

"It's the economy," said shelter executive director Andrea Pasco. "People are losing their homes and moving into apartments and can't keep their dogs."

Some dogs have been brought to the shelter by their owners, while others are strays that have been found after being lost or abandoned.

In recent years, fewer dogs have been adopted than in the past. Many people who would like to adopt pets find they cannot afford it in this economy, she said.

The shelter has more than 35 dogs, 107 cats, two guinea pigs, nine rabbits and six rats.

"We are so full and we have so many lovely dogs," she said. "It's tough. We have lab mixes, pit mixes, huskies, a lot of mutts. So many of them have just really nice temperaments."

The increase in dogs started a couple of months ago. In October, the shelter did a big push to try to get six dogs adopted who had been there six months to a year. Pasco said the adoption fee was reduced and all six were adopted.

The shelter operates on about $450,000 a year and gets about 75 percent of its funding from donations. The rest is from small grants and fees charged to 29 communities the shelter serves in Kennebec, Somerset and Waldo counties, Pasco said.

People may bring dog food donations to the shelter and leave them outside the front door or at the staff door in back of the building if no one is there, she said. She asks that donors leave their name and address so that the shelter can send thank-you notes. Dry and canned medium quality dog food works best, she said. People also may bring cat food, particularly canned, because cats who are sick and recovering need softer food.

"We can use any donations -- donations of food, blankets and towels, and financial donations are extremely appreciated," Pasco said. "We're so grateful for donations. It's what allows us to really meet our mission of providing homes for these animals until they can find their forever homes."

Volunteers also are needed to walk dogs and socialize with the animals, she said.

At the shelter Tuesday afternoon, dogs barked loudly from their cages and jumped as visitors approached. Some were quieter, wagging their tails and pressing their noses to the cage doors.

Amy Calder -- 861-9247

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