Friends of Powell County Pets
Organization is Scaling New Heights
By David J. Griffin
The humane corporation known as Friends of Powell County’s Pets (FOPCP) has recently stepped up its commitment to abandoned pets in PowellCounty. The local organization is devoted to the rescue of animals sent to the over-crowded PowellCounty pound as well as to those that are found alone in the county. FOPCP has recently developed a relationship with several out-of-state organizations that provide much-needed assistance in the placement of pets in “forever” homes. Two of those groups are: Rogers’ Rescues in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and Bloomingdale Regional Animal Shelter Society in New Jersey.
FOPCP was started in 2007 by Shannon Wyatt from Midway, Kentucky, with the assistance of Randall Martin, dog warden for PowellCounty. Since that time, several individuals have joined in the local effort to save animals. The group presently has seven or eight active foster homes in the area. These homes of volunteers provide temporary shelter until these pets can be permanently re-located. In 2012, more than 300 pets were rescued in the county.
Emily Lucas, staff attorney for Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Sara Combs, serves as the Vice-President and rescue coordinator for FOPCP. Lucas explains, “We are a 501(c)(3) corporation that coordinates rescue for animals that are abandoned in the PowellCounty pound. We are all volunteers. FOPCP puts the residents of the pound on Petfinder, and we communicate with rescues, mostly out-of-state. We foster and vet animals before sending them on their way. We operate from donations; no county funds are spent on our efforts. As you can imagine, the bills for vetting, food, and transport add up quickly. It costs approximately $600 every time we send a van [full of animals] to Hagerstown, MD. Recently, the vet bill for one litter of parvo puppies was $3,000.”
Lucas went on to clarify some of the assistance the out-of-town groups provide. “Rogers Rescues is one of several rescues that we work with. However, they have gone above and beyond for us. We began working with Rogers’ in 2007. They have taken many PowellCounty dogs and found forever homes for them. Rogers, like us, does not have a central location, but is a group of foster homes. Last year they suffered a great loss when their beloved volunteer Dee Seiffert passed away. She was a vibrant, compassionate woman who spent her retirement fostering and saving shelter dogs. In death, Dee continued her generosity. This year members of Rogers Rescues and Dee’s husband Rick presented the shelter groups with checks. Dee had designated the shelters to share in her estate. FOPCP was honored to receive one of those checks.”
It is a number that is hard to believe, but in 2012, approximately 969 dogs and cats entered the PowellCounty pound. Of those, 149 cats and 120 dogs were euthanized. Many more died in the pound. Lucas emphasized her concern. “While we are grateful for our friends up north, we cannot solve the problem of over-population. Only responsible pet ownership will prevent this from happening. It is very important to spay and neuter cats and dogs. In six years, a single dog and her puppies can be the source of 67,000 puppies. In seven years, one cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens. PowellCounty has a population of less than 13,000 people. FOPCP offers low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Additionally, we have a grant program through Petsmart that provides financial assistance for spay and neuter. Our community can turn this around. We are proud of the number of animals that we have rescued, but our dream is to no longer be needed. The Rogers’ Rescue motto is: Until there are none, rescue one.”
Anyone who is interested in providing assistance to FOPCP may call 606-481-9430. Devotion of even a small amount of time on a regular basis is always helpful and welcome.
The email address of the organization is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that donations are tax deductible. The group is always in need of volunteers to help with spay and neuter clinics, pound visits, fosters, and for transport.
Note: Focus Magazine would like to thank Emily Lucas for her assistance with this important article. The group’s dedication of time, effort, and funds on behalf of PowellCounty’s pets is nothing short of amazing, especially for such a small community.