County needs a dedicated animal shelter

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, July 18, 2013

The story of George McBride and his 35 stray dogs clearly illustrates the need for an extensive, county-wide rescue and shelter facility in Pike County.

McBride, who lives in Banks, has slowly taken in 35 dogs and puppies – many dropped off by residents who sought to abandon them and who knew that McBride would care for the stray animals. He feeds them, tries to find them homes and, in many cases, provides for their veterinary care.

But in recent months, the task has become overwhelming. So overwhelming, that his desperate plea for people to adopt the dogs led him to threaten publicly to euthanize the dogs himself if they weren’t adopted.

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While he says he would never take such drastic action, he admits to feeling desperate.

The sad reality is Pike County doesn’t have an adequate rescue and shelter facility for these animals. The Humane Society provides some needed services and the Troy animal shelter can take a limited number of abandoned animals (however, animals at the shelter will be euthanized if they are not adopted in a set amount of time.). The Troy Pike Animal Shelter Coalition has long offered plans for a shelter to take in animals such as these – and the feral cats that roam wild – but funding issues have left those plans on the shelf.

With so many pressing needs in our community, animal shelters and services to care for strays often come at the bottom of the list for many people. But they shouldn’t.

We have a responsibility to be good stewards of all animals, and that stewardship includes providing the minimum of care of comfort when animals are abandoned.

George McBride has tried to fill that void, but his efforts alone won’t stem the problem.