Mercer County animal shelter filled, sees pets returned multiple times after pandemic

Local News

HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – In Mercer County, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is apparently causing more trouble for the Shenango Valley Shelter as dogs and cats adopted during last year’s lockdown are now filling the shelter to overflowing.

Staff are now looking for help from the community.

It’s been a rough six months for the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter. It’s taken in more dogs and cats than it has space for.

“We’re negative room at this point, so we really want to get a message out there to the communities,” said Angelia Sherman, shelter manager.

The shelter was built in the mid-1950s but was never meant to house stray animals longer than 72 hours before they’d be euthanized.

There are now 27 dogs and cats in a space that’s less than 1,200 square feet, and a number of the animals have been brought in more than once.

“Unfortunately, it’s the same thing over and over again. We catch them, they come back, and then they get them and the same thing’s happening over and over again,” Sherman said.

Some of the dogs have been in the shelter for quite a while. No one will adopt them. Two of the dogs have been in the shelter for more than three years.

Madison is a two-year-old Shepherd Collie mix, named after the road where she was found a month ago.

Sherman thinks the dog was abandoned because she has a bad back hip and may need surgery, costing thousands. Sherman admits the shelter will most likely have to cover those expenses now.

The shelter operates on a budget of roughly $140,000 a year, covering salaries, vet bills, food and other expenses.

The staff is hoping to one day build a new shelter that will be 10 times the size of the current facility. While land for it has been donated by the local community foundation, a new shelter will also mean bigger bills.

“We’re obviously gonna be able to take a lot more animals, which is what we want, but how do we stay up with that?” Sherman said.

At this point, another two million dollars needs to be raised to make this a reality.

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