Looking on the national scene, one answer would be the National Humane Society. They deal with issues on a large scale; issues such as advocacy against puppy mills, factoring farming, seal slaughter, horse cruelty, captive hunts and even how the elephants are treated in the circus.
While these are important — as all potential mistreatment of the animals we share this planet with are important — they are not in control of our “little corner of the world.”
The “rubber hits the road” for most of us with what happens to the stray or abandon cats or dogs that come around our homes. We want for them cared for and safe, but we also want our children and others safe as well.
Looking at animal care on a local level, the answer would the Newton County Animal Shelter.
The local humane society was started in 1985. For almost three decades they have sought to be the voice for the animals of Newton, particularly the cats and dogs so many of us love. They do this in a variety of ways. One very important way is to support the work of the local Newton County Animal Shelter. For example when there was a need for new water bowls, the local Humane Society stepped in and provided new stainless steel bowls. They were designed in such a way they could be attached so they would not be turned over.
One of the voices that called for a badly needed shelter here in Newton was the current President of the local unit, Betty Bellairs. The local society continues to support the work of the shelter. Other officers of the unit are Susan DesJardens , treasurer, and Marshall McCart, secretary.
One of the real highlights for the local chapter is the Annual Mutt Show it sponsors. Part of the fun is the gathering of fellow dog lovers and the sharing of stories. While there is lot of attention on the traditional dog shows such as the Westminster. And though there is some “judging” at the Mutt Show, it truly touches a whole different “world”. The spot light at the Mutt Show is on the doggie most of us have. In fact it is an “open” door policy as to which dogs participate. When I attended last year, I noticed some with very fancy pedigrees but others were their own little unique creations. We know them as “Mutts”.
This year the Mutt Show was on Halloween. An added feature was a “Howloween” Parade that brought out some “strange” costumes for both human and dog alike. As usual it was fun for all. At all of the Mutt Shows one goal is to distribute information for pet owners. The goal being to help strengthen their care.
The local unit is called the Human Society of Newton County. The way the initials would work for the Newton County Human Society, NCHS, would appear as one of our local high schools. Not that we don’t care for Rams, Eagles, or Tigers. But that is not the work of the society.
One of the dreams many of us have for Newton is a “no-kill shelter”. Our current shelter takes care of the immediate crises, but a “no-kill” is a much more humane solution. Till we reach that dream, one way is to encourage people to adopt a pet from a shelter to help bring joy to their home and safety for the cat or dog. There is always a variety of pets available at the Newton County Animal Shelter. They can be found at 210 Lower River Road in Covington. Call 770-786-9514. The local shelter needs donations of dog and cat food, cat litter as well as other items.
You may not go around with a leash ready to control a stray dog or feral cat, instead you should call the professionals. But together we can make a difference through the work of the Society .
If you adopt a cat or dog from any government shelter the animal must be spayed or neutered. Of course the reason is to lower the number of unwanted animals. The local Humane Society of Newton County can help with the cost. Applications are available at the shelter.
B. Wiley Stephens is a retired United Methodist Minister and author who now resides in Covington.