By Allen Worrell
Each year, 27 million dogs are euthanized in America. That fact doesn’t sit well with Woodlawn couple Pam and Doug Scarberry, who are working to open a non-euthanization animal rescue shelter in Carroll County.
The couple has run out of room with five rescued dogs already in their Woodlawn home. But they are motivated to push forward, especially when they consider the alternative. One of the family’s adopted dogs is a brindle pit bull mix they were able to rescue in the nick of time from the Galax-Carroll-Grayson Animal Shelter.
"I was going to get the dog and I told them I’d be back tomorrow. They told me the dog would be dead tomorrow, so I said, "I’ll take the dog now then,’" Doug Scarberry said. "But that is terrible. I guess the county funds this stuff, but that poor dog was supposed to be 45 pounds and I took it to the vet and it weighed 24 pounds. We left it overnight for shots and brought it home and it has been the best dog. It’s just a shame they don’t give the dogs any more time than a week. So just imagine if your animal was being put to sleep. It would kill me if it was mine."
The Scarberrys have been working toward opening an animal rescue for two years. The effort is starting to come together as they were recently granted non-profit status. While some small grants are available, they need donations to open Critters Animal Rescue and Adoption on their five-acre property in Woodlawn.
"It will be a non-euthanization rescue because the local dog pound has a 94 percent euthanization rate. What we are trying to do is get a rescue started for dogs who will not be euthanized and they will be adopted and we will have them already spayed and neutered with shots," Pam Scarberry said. "The Galax Veterinarian Clinic will be working with us."
She said area small business developer Dr. Dallas Garrett has been instrumental in helping get the project rolling. But to move forward, they know the shelter will need much help from the community as they say it will take about $200,000 to build a shelter that will house about 20 dogs.
"We need donations to help us get a building started," Pam said. "Right now we have five rescue dogs and we have a high vet bill we could use donations for. Even if people can’t donate money, we can use dog food or anything like that."
Hopes for the planned 20-dog shelter include an examination room, a refrigerator and dishwasher for food bowls, a grooming room, and possibly a couple of televisions and stereos to help calm the dogs. Pam Scarberry said the non-euthanization animal rescue idea has been received warmly in the community.
"People have reacted enthusiastically to the shelter, especially a no-kill shelter," Pam said. "It has been very positive. There are other people starting shelters, but they are not non-euthanization. Ours will be. We have had several calls from people to take dogs. We have five in our house and can’t take anymore without a building and people hate to send them to the shelter because they know mostly they will be euthanized. We need to get this thing rolling so we can save all these animals."
Eventually, she said the couple would like to open a "Rainbow Bridge" site as well to give good homes to disabled, blind, and special needs dogs. For now, Critters Animal Rescue and Adoption hopes to serve the entire Twin County area once it opens.
Tax-free donations can be sent to Critters at 68 Two Mile Road in Woodlawn, Va., 24381. For more information, call (276) 733-1866.