Shelter in need of supplies?

Over the last three years, as people worked from home, they wanted some company. As a result, they picked up pets from a number of places. Now flash forward to the end of 2023. The pandemic is over and most folks are headed back to the office, instead of working from home. So what do you do with the pets you picked up? Here in Lunenburg County, people are taking them back to the shelter. 

That’s the word from Lunenburg County Animal Control Officer Ray Elliott, who said an influx of owner surrenders is the biggest problem they have. 

“We are seeing more owner surrenders,” said Elliott. “These dogs were adopted during COVID-19 and now the financial strain is too much for these owners.” 

With more surrenders, it adds to the financial burden for Animal Control. To help with that, Elliott took part in his now annual Thanksgiving Day fundraiser. 

For the past eight years, Elliott has held his Ruff ‘N It fundraiser for the shelter. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, Elliott locks himself in one of the dog kennels with no food, water or any other luxuries to bring awareness to what many shelter dogs go through. 

And now we have totals from this year’s event. Elliott said 70 visitors brought donations, helping him raise more than $15,000 to help spay and neuter cats and dogs in Lunenburg County and $107,000 total over the years. 

“We’ve received tremendous support from the community and other localities support what we are doing,” said Elliott. “I’m just excited about people giving their support to help pay for spays and neutering for us and other localities. 

PUSHING TO SPAY OR NEUTER 

Elliott and Lunenburg are one of many localities across the country advocating for spay and neuters right now. Many shelters are at or past their maximum capacity which is keeping rescues busy and making shelters turn to the unwanted answer of euthanizing. The hope is that spay and neutering more animals will cause fewer strays and unwanted animals to fill up the shelters. 

Even though Elliott was the one behind bars for 12 hours, there were many who gave their support to help make this fundraiser a success. He singled out the Southside SPCA, Lunenburg Animal Hospital, Lunenburg County administrative staff and the county’s board of supervisors for their support. He especially spotlighted his own family, as the fundraiser takes Elliott away from spending time with them during the holiday. Elliott said he appreciated their support and sacrifice for the cause. 

WHAT NEEDS ARE NEXT? 

But now that Thanksgiving is over, what happens next? What specific needs does Lunenburg County Animal Control have? Basically, the group needs supplies. We’re talking about everything from dog food to animal toys, old blankets and bedding, anything you feel comfortable contributing. You can bring those materials to Animal Control at 1320 Old Mansion Road in Lunenburg.