LUNENBURG COUNTY, Va. -- There's a major effort going on right now to make sure dogs in cats in Lunenburg County find a find a forever home.
Oftentimes rural animal shelters are overwhelmed or face a lack of funding and resources, and it's the same story in Lunenburg. But animal control officer Ray Elliott is doing his best to make sure every dog and cat is taken care of,
"People don't realize how serious the issue actually is not just for Lunenburg County, but all our rural counties," explained Elliott. "There's help out there, all we need to do is ask, swallow a little bit of pride and just ask for some help."
Recently, Elliot's gotten some help from students in the county’s career and technical education program at Central High School. Dozens of students have spent the past two years volunteering at the shelter, working to help get dogs and cats adopted.
"We invited Mr. Ray Elliot to the marketing classes, to simply share data, number of strays, euthanization numbers, owner surrenders of dogs and cats," said Karen McGrath, LCPS Career and Technical Education Coordinator. "We presented those numbers to the students. And we asked them, do you see a problem here? And they said, Absolutely."
Each class chooses an animal to "market." The students name the animal, create social media flyers and also work to gather donations for the shelter, as part of their service learning project.
"They've realized all of the issues that contribute to the dog population, the cat population, if anything, they've gone home to talk to their families about these situation," explained McGrath. "Owner education is a big part of this."
Animal control officer elliott says they've helped save dozens of animals.
"These young people are stepping up, and I mean, making a huge difference to me personally, professionally and I'm just amazed," he shared. "One day, they may look back and say wow, look at the difference we made."
This Saturday, October 21st from 9 a.m. to noon, about 15 students will put on an adoption event at the Lunenburg County animal shelter, located at 160 Courthouse Square, where all adoption fees will be waived in hopes of getting about a dozen animals adopted.
"I hope this program continues for a long time because I think it's really just making the county a better place," said CHS student Gio Inzeo. "A lot of people in this area really do care about animals and they care about the community, and they're just doing their best to try to help out."
The students will also be creating homemade dog treats and decorating the kennels.
Anyone interested in adopting an animal will have to go through a background check and application.
If you can’t make it to the event but still want to help out, you can donate online. Visit southsidespca.org and specify "CHSh Ruff-n-it" with your donation. The students have a goal of raising $1,000 for the shelter this weekend.
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