RCHS gives report to City Council

ELKINS — The Elkins City Council received an annual report from the Randolph County Humane Society during their meeting this week.

Tina Hord Vial, president of the board of directors for the RCHS, described this year as “challenging,” citing an incident where the facility took in their second largest seizure case in its history.

“(The seizure) challenged our resources, our volunteers and our staff,” she said. “As we approach the final resolution for all 32 dogs and one cat; however, we can’t begin to express how supported we’ve felt by the community.”

Vial said the RCHS received a great deal of support once news broke of the seizure.

“The outpouring of supplies, donations, time and encouragement has been nothing short of phenomenal, without which we don’t know how we would have made it through,” Vial said.

To date, the RCHS has taken in 461 kittens, cats, puppies and dogs.

“This total number is down slightly from previous years but three months with the large legal case limited our ability to take in additional animals,” Vial said.

Vial said the shelter is looking into a microchipping program that would more easily reunite lost pets with their owners.

“We know that one of the most effective methods of reuniting lost pets with their families is through microchipping,” she said. “We are looking into launching a microchipping effort to help ensure more Randolph County pets are chipped so we can get them back home faster.”

The facility has also continued their “Compassion in Action” program, which has allowed them to assist 27 families with financial hardship by providing 300 pounds of cat food and 700 pounds of dog food, enabled them to provide 28 families with a total of 49 bales of straw for outdoor pets during extreme winter weather and allowed them to provide spay and neuter services to 77 families with 189 pets.

“We try to focus (the spay and neuter services) on hard-to-adopt breeds in order to reduce the number of puppies produced in unplanned litters,” Vial said. “Our largest population are pit bulls and we can’t transport them because there are already so many of them in other destination states. We just don’t have options for them so we do our best to try to reduce that population by providing spay and neuter services.”

Vial explained that fundraising is crucial to maintaining the shelter because their budget is $262,000 per year for operation expenses, veterinary costs, medical supplies, payroll and transports. They receive $80,000 from the Randolph County Commission as part of a partnership for stray, abused, neglected and legal case animals within the county. The remainder of the budget is funded by donors from individuals or local businesses, grants and fundraising.

In 2016, RCHS raised money through the Mountain State Forest Festival, Spay-ghetti Dinner, Ramps and Rail Festival, Woofstock, Wine, Spirits and Whiskers, Tails and Ales, Smoke on the Water Furry Friends Fundraiser, Uncle Sam’s Pet Parade, and Treasure on the Mountain ticket sales.

“Fundraising is an area where we will continue to focus this year,” Vial said.

For more information, to make a donation or to volunteer, contact the facility at 304-636-7844 or go to www.rchswv.org.