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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Partnership offers puppies a future
Animal league takes 51 puppies to New York to find new homes
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Local SPCA volunteer Allie Pettie carries a puppy that was taken by the North Shore Animal League for possible adoption in New York. (Contributed photo)
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Friday, December 20, 2013

By HARRISON HAMLET - Bulletin Staff Writer

“It’s like winning the puppy lottery.”

That’s what Nicole Harris, director of the SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County, had to say about the fate of 51 dogs who left Martinsville on Wednesday bound for New York.

Through the SPCA’s partnership with North Shore Animal League, the dogs are being sent to Long Island, where North Shore will help find them new homes.

The partnership, now in its 20th year, allows the SPCA to send puppies, adult dogs, special-needs dogs and cats to North Shore’s center in Long Island, N.Y.

North Shore is the world’s largest no-kill animal shelter. Animals taken to North Shore receive lifelong care from seven staff veterinarians and are placed in homes throughout the Northeast, according to Harris.

This year, North Shore is taking 30 puppies and one heartworm-positive adult English Bulldog from the local SPCA.

According to Harris, because Martinsville is within a 10-hour drive of North Shore and the maximum time animals may spend traveling across state lines is 10 hours, other organizations that partner with North Shore outside of that travel window bring their animals here to begin the journey.

On Wednesday, the Surry County (N.C.) Animal Shelter brought 20 puppies to Martinsville to add to the SPCA’s total.

“Oops litters” are the reason for the partnership with North Shore, Harris said. The term refers to surprise litters from pets whose owners haven’t had them spayed or neutered.

Oops litters are a common problem in the South, according to Harris, but not in the North, where strict animal control laws ensure every backyard dog has been fixed. This means there are fewer dogs available to be adopted in North Shore’s operating area, a problem the SPCA and other animal organizations, such as the Surry County Animal Shelter, help address.

The relationship between the SPCA and North Shore has grown through the years, and Harris said she never will forget North Shore’s actions following a flood at the SPCA facility when it was on Virginia Avenue. Harris said the shelter was in dire straits following the flood and a “heaven-sent” crew from North Shore helped out.

North Shore agreed to take in the animals, likely saving the lives of many, she said. It also helped in the cleanup process.

According to Harris, the SPCA hopes to continue this mutually beneficial partnership. Because of the partnership, the SPCA can take in additional dogs from the local pound, Harris said.

By taking in dogs from the pound, the SPCA ensures that fewer local animals are euthanized.

North Shore staff members also continue to be generous with their time and supplies, Harris said.

“They bring puppy food, dog food every time as well as supplying a lot of our medical care and supplies,” she said.

The 51 animals who headed north Wednesday may be winning the puppy lottery, but their roommates at the shelter also have something to look forward to. On Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, the SPCA staff brings a taste of the holidays to the animals. On Christmas, the animals will be served deboned chicken on Christmas-themed plates.

“(The animals) may not know it’s Christmas, but they get excited” for the meal and a little bit of “table food,” Harris said.

 

 
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