Humane Society receives grant to fix roof, replace vaccines|[10/31/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 31, 2005

Plans still in works to move to larger facility

Dogs and cats have been known to fear the slightest lightning strikes and thunder claps, but the potential pets at Vicksburg Warren Humane Society escaped Hurricane Katrina much better than the building that houses them.

A $20,000 grant to the organization form the New York-based American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was approved last week. It provides a much-needed infusion of cash to repair a damaged, leaky roof and replace an estimated $3,000 worth of vaccines lost in the storm.

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The organization’s location at U.S. 61 South sustained substantial roof damage just over one office, causing some damage to a computer and moving it to a table in the lobby. Ripped insulation hangs loosely over a desk in the small room, as it does in several spots over the cinder-block rows of kennels in the rear of the building.

&#8220It was already in disrepair and Katrina finished it off. I can’t let it rain on my employees and the pets,” said Georgia Lynn, humane society president and director.

Katrina hit Aug. 29. Large sections of tin roofing over a row of separate kennels at the rear of the property were bent and pushed upward, Lynn said. Although repaired by temporary labor, rafters under the tin remain damaged.

Electricity was out at the facility for eight days, Lynn said, leading to total loss of its vaccines, including antibiotics for feline leukemia and basic canine inoculations.

Funded through adoption fees, donations and an annual contract with Warren County, the shelter has always had local support.

&#8220We’ve always been helped out by the community. But we really needed the roof either patched or fixed soon. The grant should help us do that,” Lynn said.

To date, the ASPCA has raised over $1 million in grants and emergency funding to animal shelters, primarily those in areas in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Plans are still in the works to purchase a larger location for the shelter, which has taken up to 30 animals in a day in the past. The most likely new location is a Mississippi Department of Transportation maintenance building on U.S. 80 East.

A letter was sent to Central Mississippi Highway Commissioner Dick Hall requesting the county’s interest in purchasing it, Board of Supervisors president David McDonald said Friday.

At least one other commissioner would have to sign off on a sale of the building, McDonald said.

A new, larger location would eliminate the need for a separate kennel outside. Puppies would not always have to be kept inside, Lynn said.

In August, Mayor Laurence Leyens expressed a desire to merge the city shelter on North Washington Street with the county shelter. Lynn has said the shelter has a larger intake of animals than the city and can absorb a merger.

Currently, the humane society’s shelter is holding 54 dogs and cats, plus two dogs resulting from the county pet ordinance and two cats and two dogs belonging to Katrina evacuees who have not found housing.

In the weeks after Katrina, the shelter housed five birds and about 20 cats and dogs belonging to evacuees.

&#8220The black lab mix we still have belonged to twin boys from the coast,” Lynn said. &#8220She really needs to find a home.”

The shelter took in 437 animals from July through September, with just 75 adopted.