Temperature drops and need rises at makeshift animal shelter


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Terry Snell

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. — As temperatures drop, the need rises. Animals lovers in one local county scurried to find a better place for dogs and cats that have no place to call home, especially in these chilling temperatures.

This all started after allegations surfaced of improper euthanasia at the McCracken County Humane Society.

After that, county animal control stopped taking animals there and opened a makeshift shelter at the road department.

But that's only temporary. A new, permanent county animal shelter will be just down the road in an old record storage building.

Volunteers are really anxious to get inside the new location. They need a more permanent place out of the elements.

They're glad volunteers are working quickly.

As wind beats up against the tarps covering the makeshift shelter, you can hear the animals inside. It's as if they're calling for someone to love them.

But until then, volunteers like Jane Lookofsky are their best friends.

Lookofsky was there the day this shelter opened, offering whatever help she could. Right now, the help these animals need is heat.

"We're trying to get people to donate some salamanders so we can get some heat in here till we can get the new shelter going," Lookofsky said.

Other needs are met with the help of people like Veterinarian Bonnie Jones, who visits every day and treats animals like a kitten with nerve damage and a bad leg. While she works for free, she doesn't want any credit.

"Really who's saving these guys lives is all the volunteers and the county workers that are out here actually keeping this place going," Jones said.

Meanwhile, county workers and volunteers also work to transform an old county records building into a new animal shelter. They know they have to work fast because the county said it has to be finished Dec. 15.

Crews take down shelving and put up interior walls, working quickly to meet that deadline and get a permanent place for animals with no place to go.

But the animals might warm up to their temporary home after all. A local store manager heard about the need for heat and donated a brand new kerosene heater, another need met, just in time.

To date, people have donated more than 2,200 pounds of dog food and 500 pounds of cat food.

What they need the most are cleaning products, like bleach, dishwashing liquid and dog shampoo.

You can drop those items off at the temporary shelter on Coleman Road.

The outpouring of support has been amazing but a volunteer reminded us the best thing we can all do is spay or neuter our own pets. That is the heart of the problem.