(Helena-West Helena, AR) A big concern in this cold weather is how deadly it can be for animals.
The Humane Society of the Delta in Helena-West Helena, Ark., depends on donations to care for almost one-hundred dogs and cats.
They’ve been asking the city and Phillips County for funds, but so far have received no help.
Volunteers are worried this bitter cold could be spell disaster for animals because the shelter isn’t adequately heated.
Beth Florek, Director of the Humane Society of the Delta, is painfully honest when she admits this blast of frigid weather could be disastrous for some animals.
“The potential for a dog to die of exposure will be pretty high tonight, from what I understand,” said Florek.
The shelter has gone through its share of challenges.
We told you about vandals turning more than a dozen dogs loose recently and how some of them were severely injured when they were used as bait dogs for big vicious fighting dogs.
But through it all, Florek said the shelter has remained a constant source of love for unwanted dogs and cats.
“We’ve been lucky enough to be able to tread water out here with this facility. But we’re not going to be able to tread water much longer,” said Florek.
Florek said the shelter, which takes in animals from Phillips County and neighboring counties, is open thanks to donations from the public and private sector.
In fact local farmers donated barrels and hay for dogs living in outdoor cages.
The dogs have only a metal roof overhead and nothing to block out the cold.
The barrels and hay will provide some warmth.
There are dozens more dogs and cats inside the shelter’s main building, but there’s no adequate heating.
Gloria Higginbotham, President of the Humane Society of the Delta, said poor conditions are the result of a long battle with city and county elected leaders over funding.
“We’ve done nothing but go back and forth with the city and county for some type of financial assistance. It’s been five years ongoing and we haven’t gotten a penny from either one of them,” said Higginbotham.
She points to a new building erected through a USDA grant.
Even though it has cages and a new heating and air-conditioning system, the shelter can’t use it.
Gloria Higginbotham said that’s because the county has yet to come up with 25-thousand dollars in matching funds.
“It’s very heartbreaking to have a facility we could put animals in sitting right here on our property with heat. But we can’t use it because we have no money,” said Higginbotham.
Shelter staff, volunteers and members of the community were scheduled to meet with the Phillips County Quorum Court right Tuesday night.
They were hoping to persuade members to provide some funds for the animal shelter.
If you’re interested in helping the animal shelter continue its work, go to www.humanesocietyofthedelta.org.