Clark County gets new shelter to deal with big stray animal problem

8:00 p.m Thursday, June 8, 2017 Community News

Clark County has a new tool to fight what shelter leaders call a bad problem with stray cats and dogs in the community with the newly founded Clark County SPCA.

The Clark County SPCA, founded by former Clark County Humane Society employee Krissi Hawke, began to adopt out pets in March. Hawke said she noticed a void in the community she wanted to fill.

“We needed a cruelty investigator,” Hawke said. “We needed education in the schools and we needed an outlet for the community to be able to help with maybe some more owner surrenders and outreach for the community.”

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Hawke was the acting animal cruelty investigator for the county for several years, she said. But when the Clark County Humane Society and the county dog wardens recently split, cruelty investigations were left to law enforcement.

“The Springfield Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department were filing all the charges,” she said. “But they’ve got a wide variety of things that they’re trained on, but they’re not necessarily trained for animal cruelty.”

Since she formed the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chapter, Hawke said she’s been re-instated as a cruelty investigator in Clark County.

The shelter, located at 21 Walter St. in Springfield, houses cats and dogs but isn’t open to the public, Hawke said. She’s had to adopt out dogs and cats through private sessions or off-site events.

“We can’t have people in the building yet because we don’t have our occupancy certificate,” she said.

Several upgrades need to be made to the building before the shelter can get its occupancy certificate, she said. But first she needs to raise about $35,000 to get those upgrades completed.

“If we want to increase the number of animals that we can help in the community,” she said, “we need to be open to the public.”

Hawke said she can’t turn away an animal in need.

“They need a voice and somebody needs to stand up for them and be there for them,” she said.

The Humane Society Serving Clark County supports the SPCA, Executive Director Roger Ganley said, because of the problems the community faces with stray and abandoned cats and dogs.

“There’s so many neglected animals here in this county, it’s sickening,” he said. “So the more the merrier.”

Ganley worried a few months ago that the Humane Society would close because of a lack of funding, but his outlook is brighter now.

“Things are in a very positive direction,” he said. “Much better than they were four months ago.”

The SPCA has several upcoming events to adopt out pets and raise money for the organization. A list of events can be found on the group’s Facebook page by searching Clark County SPCA.