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Society is seeking help to find foster homes for the animals it has now.
According to Bedford Humane Society executive director Doreen Ehasz, the organization is in need of caring, temporary homes for foster animals.
“We are beginning to see the effects of recent economic conditions,” said Ehasz. “With an increase in home foreclosures, some folks are being forced to make the difficult decision of giving away their beloved pets, or taking them to the shelter. Our ability to respond to these requests is directly related to the availability of openings in our foster home network, which is rarely enough to fill the need.”
The Society pays the animal’s expenses, provides food, toys and equipment as needed and assists in screening potential adopters. All that is needed is concerned people willing to open their homes and make a commitment to a homeless animal until it is adopted, she said. Puppies and kittens usually get adopted within three months. Older animals can take a little longer.
In the near future, the Humane Society hopes to have its own shelter up and running.
Bedford County and the organization are in negotiations that would have the Humane Society leasing property from the county to build its shelter. Property being considered includes that across from the Public Service Authority, next to the group home, in front of the old landfill.
In 2006 Bedford County Circuit Court Judge James Updike ruled that the Bedford Humane Society was the intended recipient of an estate left by a Forest animal lover, Vernon Lybolt Jr., who died in July 2004. Bedford County, the Bedford Humane Society and a group of Lybolt’s relatives all had staked a claim to the funds, but Updike ruled in favor of the Bedford Humane Society. The organization received about $300,000 in cash assets as well as the property and home Lybolt had owned. All of that money received from the estate, according to the ruling of the court, was to go towards the construction of an animal shelter.
Following the sale of Lybolt’s home last summer, the organization had in excess of $500,000 towards constructing the “no-kill” animal shelter.
Since last August the organization has been searching for property to build the shelter. In working with the county, it was determined that no such provision for a “no-kill” shelter was included in the current ordinance.
“It would definitely be a huge plus for the Humane Society because it will save us the cost of having to buy the land,” Ehasz said of the possibility of leasing county land. The actual cost of the building will depend on materials and design.
Ehasz said the plan is for a 3,000 to 6,000 square foot facility that would have from 18 to 24 dog areas and 18 cat areas. There are also plans to include a conference room to hold community events sponsored by the organization.
“We don’t have a headquarters,” Ehasz said of the current situation. And it doesn’t have any permanent place to hold its spay and neuter clinics.
“We’re trying to find local area groups that will host us and it has been very difficult,” she said.
The Humane Society also distributes dog food to families that can’t afford it for their pets. “We have looked at a number of properties in Bedford City and in the county,” she said of the search.
Many of those were in commercial and manufacturing areas which she said were too expensive.
“We have been waiting a long time for this,” she said of constructing the shelter. “It’s been a year since we received the money from the estate.”
Part of the process has also been developing the organization, including building its volunteer database. Volunteers are needed both now and once the shelter is constructed.
“Now the most limiting thing is the lack of foster homes,” she said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Foster Program can call the Bedford Humane Society at 540-586-6100, or visit the Web site at www.bedfordhumanesociety. petfinder.com and complete a foster home application.