LIBERTY TWP. — The Wilmington Area Humane Society (WAHS) will no longer be taking in pets and housing animals at the shelter beginning in January, according to a letter emailed to volunteers Monday.
WAHS — an all-volunteer non-profit 501(c)3 no-kill animal shelter — just opened its current facility at 5312 N. U.S. 68 in fall 2016, after a donation for its construction from the Roberts Family of R+L Carriers, and fundraising and donations which furnished the building and provided fencing.
The emailed letter, from the WAHS Board of Directors, states:
“WAHS will be moving in a new direction starting January 2020. We will no longer be taking in pets and housing animals at a shelter.
“We are going to work on the issue of overpopulation of animals. We are going to spay and neuter as many pets as we can in our community. All monies at the end of the year and any future donations will be going into a spay/neuter fund. We are hoping to work with local vets to help control the pet population.
“The Clinton County community has greatly supported us since 2002 when WAHS was first formed. We are hoping the community will continue to support us in the years to come.
“WAHS hopes the current volunteers will continue to do their shifts until the animals in our care are placed in another home. If you have friends and family that are looking for pets please send them our way. WAHS will also consider other rescue organizations to place the animals. WAHS and the animals in our care still need your help.
“We are hoping to have all pets in our care placed by January 1st, 2020. It would be wonderful if they could all find homes before Christmas.”
The letter added that WAHS is having a special cat adoption day — cat adoptions are $7 — 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, plus the normal adoption day 1-3 p.m. Dec. 15. Special pricing will be announced at a later date.
Regarding additional details and information — including reasons for the closing and the future of the facility, including if there is any chance that WAHS could remain open or eventually re-open — WAHS President/Director Sherry Bathori told the News Journal that she could not provide further information at this time, but she hopes to be able to share more in a week or so.
As to the overall effect of the shelter’s closing on Clinton County, Dog Warden Rex Doak told the News Journal, “We’re sitting back to see how things go. We’ve talked to the Clinton County Humane Society (also a no-kill volunteer shelter, located on Fife Avenue), and they and WAHS have worked with other rescues as well, so we’ll have to see what happens next.”
Doak added, “The bottom line is that if everybody would be responsible for their own dogs, we wouldn’t need shelters.”
Longtime Clinton County Humane Society volunteer Eileen Brady told the News Journal, “It is disappointing any time fewer homeless animals can be helped in our area, and maintaining a privately funded shelter is always a struggle.
“Animal overpopulation is a constant battle in Clinton County, which faces recurring issues with a major feral-cat problem. Even when two shelters do what they can, it’s impossible to take in all the cats and kittens that need medical care and a chance at adoption.
“Increased costs will definitely affect the monthly spay/neuter clinics CCHS has held for 10 years, so we understand the financial and logistical challenges of trying to stem the tide in regard to abused, neglected, and homeless pets.”