Letter: Donations for needy animals appreciated

Once again, the people of Oak Hill community opened their hearts and their wallets to help needy and homeless animals in Newton County. Even though many families are feeling the strain of high unemployment rates and other economic concerns, a total of just over $150 was donated by citizens during the Christmas holiday season.

For the fourth year in a row, clients and visitors to Oak Hill Animal Hospital were able to purchase paper ornaments in their pets' names, in any denomination, to benefit the Humane Society of Newton County. The ornaments decorated the Christmas tree window painting on the clinic's storefront. The donations were matched by Oak Hill Animal Hospital, generating an allocation of over $300.

In Newton County, the Humane Society is directed by Betty Bellairs and does not currently have a physical shelter. Mrs. Bellairs works closely with Newton County Animal Control to help find homes and provide care for unwanted, neglected, sick or abused animals. As in the previous three or four years, more and more people have been forced to surrender their pets because they can no longer afford to provide for them. This has resulted in overcrowded shelters and rescue groups operating at, or above, capacity.

Dr. Beth McElhenny, veterinarian at Oak Hill Animal Hospital, praised the response from clients and community members to the increased needs of animals in this area and said she will continue the annual fundraiser.

Even though the holidays have passed, community members can still make donations of supplies or funds for needy animals by contacting Newton County Animal Control for a copy of its "wish list," or by bringing donations to Oak Hill Animal Hospital during normal business hours.

-- Dawn Woodruff