Pine Grove, Schuylkill County -- It took two years and eight months, but Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA can now provide a temporary home for dogs in need of emergency shelter. It unveiled its new dog kennels on Thursday to house and provide canine care. Shelter Manager Jessica Bettinger said, "There are not words to express coming from what we did from that day back in January."
It was January 2011 when flames tore through the dog kennel area. No dogs were lost but the area where staffers cared for those dogs was in ruins. The shelter couldn't take-in any dogs in need. "Many times we got calls and we just didn't have the building ready. We couldn't do it," Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA Board of Directors President Jim McKeone.
Mr. McKeone said estimates to complete repairs topped $100,000. The board of directors scrambled to raise funds. When they could only muster about $40,000, the board of directors took matters into their own hands."Built the whole building. Some of them never did lay block or stuff before but they learned."
The SPCA also used funds to build outdoor enclosures called outside runs and replace the fire damaged grooming station and washer and dryer. "Now our doors are open and you know we can go out and get these dogs if they need to be removed or surrendered for whatever reason," said Ms. Bettinger.
Even though the September 12th grand reopening day was established a couple of months in advance, Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA was called on a month earlier to house dogs taken in a Shenandoah rescue case. A dozen pitbulls including a mother dog named Mollie which suffered burns on her body were seized and given emergency shelter. "We had it good enough. We had it finished that we could take them," said Mr. McKeone.
There are even more dogs now at the shelter. It turns out Mollie was pregnant and had two pups just two weeks ago. A five-year-old dog named Hugo is also sheltered. It needs costly surgery to repair ligament damage to its rear legs. Despite the financial obstacles, the staff is pleased. "Knowing what we're going to be able to do for the community, it's amazing," said Ms. Bettinger.
Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA is in need of all sorts of donations ranging from cash to supplies to volunteers. You can find out more about how to help by contacting the shelter at 570.345.3540 or by logging onto http://rsmspca.rescueme.org/