(Posted April 8, 2020)
By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
Local pizzerias and the Humane Society of Madison County are banding together to link potential pet owners with pooches and cats that need temporary or permanent homes.
The campaign involves boxes and bags and images of animals in search of forever families, delivered by six restaurants throughout the county.
“One of our board members spotted an article on Facebook about a pizza place in another state that wanted to do something to help increase adoptions at their local shelter,” said Cathy Leistikow, events coordinator for the Humane Society of Madison County.
“We reached out and spoke to the owners/managers of Ronetti’s, Todd’s, Mike’s and Bambino’s, and they agreed to help us reach more people by putting our flyers on their boxes. We started our campaign on March 24 and then added two more pizza places—Cappy’s and Phat Daddy’s.”
Jereme Collins, owner of Ronetti’s in London, said his employees tape the flyers to food delivery boxes and bags before they leave the restaurant. The flyers feature a pet available for adoption and its information.
“They are pretty hard to miss,” Collins said about the flyers. “These animals need a place. They need a home, and we have a unique opportunity to reach a lot of people. The flyer also introduces people to the Humane Society.
“Our hope is that maybe someone sees a flyer and then contacts the Humane Society and ends up adopting an animal. These dogs deserve as much love as ones you buy from a breeder and, hopefully, they’ll get a loving home.”
The box and bag campaign continues despite the fact that the Humane Society closed its door to the public on March 17 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Humane Society staff are still answering phone calls and taking applications for adoptions in order to set meet-and-greet opportunities with animals.
People can find adoptable dogs and cats online by clicking the “adoptable pets” button at www.hsmcohio.org. An application also is available online for those who see a pet they would like to adopt. For anyone whose application is approved, the Humane Society will set a date and time for the applicant to meet the dog or cat at the shelter.
Due to the small size of the shelter, only one appointment is scheduled per time slot. Leistikow said staffers will ask potential pet owners if they are coughing or running a fever.
“It was hard to tell our volunteers they could not come out to the shelter to help with cleaning, walking the dogs and socializing the kitties,” Leistikow said. “But on the upside, we have volunteers that have taken dogs and cats into their homes to foster to help lessen the load at the shelter.
As of April 5, the Humane Society was caring for 42 dogs and 24 cats through foster care, a pet training program at a local correctional facility, and at the shelter. Foster families are still needed to take in shy cats and help socialize them or take in dogs that can only live in a single-dog home.
When it comes to permanently adopting a cat or dog, every animal must be spayed or neutered before the adoption process is finalized. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all elective surgeries for animals, including spaying and neutering, have been cancelled to conserve oxygen, masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment.
Some of the pets currently available for adoption at the Humane Society are already spayed/neutered. They can be adopted permanently now. Some of the available pets are not spayed/neutered, in which case an adoptive family can foster the animal until elective surgeries are allowed again. At that time, the Humane Society will schedule a surgery appointment, after which the families can officially adopt the pet.
As for overall operations at the shelter, Leistikow said the Humane Society needs monetary donations to keep the lights on and to purchase medications for the animals.
“We have been blessed with wonderful supporters who reach out to see if they can help in any way they can. They buy supplies for dogs or cats or the cleaning products we need and either ship the items to us or drop them at our door.”
For more information, visit www.hsmcohio.org or call (614) 879-8368. The shelter is located at 2020 State Rte. 142 NE, West Jefferson.