Fayette Friends of Animals shelter full with 100 dogs, cats

| Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

Fayette Friends of Animals, a no-kill shelter and rescue center in Uniontown, says the tough economy is forcing pet owners to give up their four-legged friends because of the expenses involved in taking care of them.

Joyce Rusinack, shelter manager, said the facility is over full with dogs and cats and is housing 100 animals. The shelter receives more than 10 calls a day from area residents who cannot afford to keep their animals.

"When someone needs to give up their pet, they of course, do not want to see any harm to come to part of their family. They call us," said Rusinack.

The shelter receives many calls from pet owners looking to take advantage of its spay and neuter program, which is offered at a lower cost than that of a veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, those programs have limited spots available and fill up quickly, said Rusinack.

Tammy Coleman, a longtime shelter volunteer, said with more "surrenders" from people unable to financially care for their pets and not enough adoptions to balance things out, overcrowding is becoming an issue.

"We have had a lot of ups and downs, but it seems like just this year it has gotten a lot worse, especially with the adoption of cats. We have seen a drastic decline in the adoption of cats," said Coleman.

For Coleman, who has been active with the nonprofit group for more than 10 years, finding forever homes for the animals is a big priority. Given the shelter is a no-kill facility, animals accepted will remain there until adopted, she said. In some cases, that could mean years, which means less room for other animals in need of care.

"More animals mean more mouths to feed and also more medical expenses. We spay or neuter every animal before it is adopted out, and we also spend a lot on medicating the sick animals, giving shots and deworming," said Coleman.

With more than 50 cats and 50 dogs housed in the shelter, Coleman said, the increase in occupants means bigger demands on volunteers who work hard to care for them daily.

"It definitely affects the volunteers. We always need more volunteers, and people just don't have the time to dedicate to it. The volunteers that are there feel pressure to do more to help," she said.

"We also have people who foster animals at their homes. That takes a lot of time and dedication. We actually could use a lot more people to foster."

With an average of more than 750 animal adoptions a year, the shelter welcomes volunteers to help with duties at the facility or with fundraisers. Interested people can call the shelter at 724-245-7815 or visit here . Photos of animals waiting to be adopted and their stories can also be found at the website.

"People should consider adopting a rescue animal because they are the best kind to have. These animals have been through a lot and don't hold grudges. All they are yearning for is love and attention and a family to call their own," said Coleman.

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