East Montpelier, Vermont - December 3, 2011
An ongoing animal cruelty investigation could double the number of dogs held at the Central Vermont Humane Society. With tight budgets and limited space, staff are asking for the community's help to feed, care for, and house the animals.
Staff at C.V.H.S. began investigating an unknown suspect after receiving tips from concerned residents. They say few more details can be made known at this time so as not to tip-off the suspect. It's unclear when law enforcement will remove the animals from the suspect's property.
"I've been here four years and this is the largest case that we've been involved with in that time," said C.V.H.S. Director of Operations Anne Ward.
It's unclear how many animals will eventually be brought into the care of C.V.H.S. However, Ward said their dog population will "more than double." The shelter currently houses about 70 cats and 20 dogs.
Ward says December is one of the toughest financial months of the year for non-profits. But, she said they'll do what needs to be done to rehabilitate the animals they expect to arrive soon.
"We expect that out of this will come some really incredible adoptable animals," she said, "hopefully getting to the point where we can put them into permanent loving homes." C.V.H.S is a no-kill facility.
Saturday, staff prepared about a dozen portable kennels for large dogs. One XL crate stood apart. "We need more of those," Ward said.
Despite the challenge ahead the mood in East Montpelier is positive. "We've got the potential of saving many many animals lives," Ward said.
Along with the temporary kennels the humane society is enlisting the help of pet foster parents to ease their housing crunch. Shawn Bryan and his wife came in Sunday to look at a dog. The pair are familiar faces at the humane society.
"They don't ask for much and to see them mistreated just breaks your heart," said Bryan of animals that have been starved or beaten.
He says it's easy to pick up a foster pet. "Sometimes it's pretty hard to give them back, which is why we have a house full of animals," he said, "I think we had as many as seven cats at one time."
Joy Couture said she drove to C.V.H.S. looking for a cat. "Or two cats," she added with a laugh, "I'm an animal person."
When she heard about the situation she joked, "I'll make room for two more."
Ward said their biggest need is cash, but says they can also accept everything from gas cards and cleaning supplies, to canned dog food.