MARTINSBURG — With wintry weather in full swing and freezing temperatures dominating the forecast, at least one Berkeley County Humane Society leader is asking pet owners and adopters to be more aware of the effect that time can have on animals.
BCHS President Shari Persad said in a recent interview that all things considered, no pet should be left out in the cold during the winter months, even if an owner thinks their pet likes to be outside. . This goes for cats, dogs and everything else.
“There should be no animals outside unless there is a suitable shelter for them,” Persad explained. And don’t put bedding in it. No animal wants to curl up on a cold piece of plastic. Landlords should ensure they have adequate housing. It doesn’t take much. People think that animals wear a fur coat all the time, but when it is very cold, the cold air does not take long to pass through and this fur coat does not protect or insulate them.
Persad went on to note that human society is almost purely derived from the local community. Since 1943, the Martinsburg area has lent a hand in everything the organization does, she said, and without his help she doesn’t know how the organization would survive.
At this point, Persad added, it can be difficult when people bring animals into the shelter because owners cannot afford proper care for their pets. As a result, she told a story about how the humane society paid for veterinary care for a dog that belonged to a family’s daughter.
“It’s sad,” she said, trying to hold back tears. “It’s sad when you see them like that. With something like this, there are good times and bad times; we have good days and we have bad days.
As it stands, the Humane Society can house up to 28 dogs and 50-60 cats and kittens. There are times when the facilities are almost completely full, Persad said, and there are six workers on the shelter side of the organization.
There are a myriad of reasons why they receive animals, Persad explained. Sometimes people lose everything, become homeless and need a place for their pets. Other times it’s just “luck of the draw,” she said, and it’s not the family’s or the animal’s fault that humans and animals have to go their separate ways. .
“We can’t do much for a human being who needs a home, but we can provide animals with a good home,” Persad said. “Sometimes people bring an animal, because they can’t afford food, so we give them food, because we want them to be able to keep the animal. We want to help them as much as we can. »
With wintry weather completely engulfing the Eastern Panhandle, Persad stressed that there is no rest for those who want to help keep animals safe during such a trying time of year.
“Animals are like humans,” Persad said. “They need 24/7 care, and it’s not just because the weather is bad. Sometimes we can make arrangements and provide more food and water in case of bad weather, but it’s a seven-day-a-week job and we always have to have someone here.
“We are always looking for volunteers to come and help us,” she continued. “When COVID started we weren’t taking volunteers because we didn’t want people to get sick, but we never stopped the shelter. We are here for the animals every day, and the animals keep coming. When the weather starts like this, we see a slight uptick, because some people just want a seasonal pet. But that’s okay, because no matter what, we remain open for animals.