A ‘purrfect’ cause

Recent developments in Belmont County have brought bad news and good news for our feline friends.

Due to budget concerns and space constraints, the Belmont County Animal Shelter has stopped accepting cats. Officials there are seeking homes for the cats already housed there, Dog Warden Lisa Williams said, but the facility will no longer provide shelter for felines that are picked up as strays or that are dropped off by people who can no longer provide for them.

While that is bad news for the cats and kittens roaming the county, there are people who are working to help them.

One such group is the Belmont County Humane Society Inc., started by Angela Hatfield, former director of the Belmont County Animal Shelter. Hatfield founded the organization last year, aiming to create a safe haven for stray and abandoned cats and to form a support system to help them find homes.

Hatfield, who is working with several supporters, said experience has taught her that 250 cats on average come through the Belmont County Animal Shelter each year. Many more roam the streets of our cities and villages, becoming feral and harder to place with families after they are rescued.

Hatfield’s group is working toward the same goal as the animal shelter and other such groups in the area – adequate housing for all animals, including cats, in the Ohio Valley. Humane Society Inc. is holding adoption events and providing feline first aid for those that need it.

On obstacle, though, is that Humane Society Inc. doesn’t have its own base of operations. Hatfield is working to find a building suitable for the group’s needs. Currently, adoptable kittens and cats with the group are being housed in foster homes until a building can be purchased.

If you are able to adopt a cat or kitten, we urge you to do so – either from the society or from the shelter. If you cannot add a furry member to your family, consider other ways you can help solve this problem: Volunteer to foster an animal; volunteer to help perform tasks at the shelter; make a gift of money, pet food or supplies to either organization. The need is great, and there are many ways we all can help.