New chapter for animal shelter

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Animal Shelter is opening a new chapter with new management.

As previously reported by Ohio Valley Publishing (OVP), As of Saturday, Aug. 28, the shelter “has been closed [for] about 10 days” County Administrator John Gerlach said.

“We are taking inventory, going through paperwork to determine which animals are already scheduled for rescues and attempting to make arrangements to register the remaining with rescues,” Gerlach said.“The facility is also undergoing a thorough cleaning to cut down on potential diseases that could affect the animal population.”

Denée Sidenstricker took over as shelter manager Oct. 1 with a plethora of ideas and changes in mind.

“I think it’s going to be really good,” Sidenstricker said. “I’m trying not to look at anything from prior to October 11. I want us to be just moving forward, looking towards the future and doing what we can to help.”

One thing Sidenstricker hopes to adjust is the hours of the shelter.

“We haven’t quite worked out the details of that yet,” Sidenstricker said. “I do want to be open, maybe, two weekends a month, two Saturdays a month. That is my goal.”

Sidenstricker wants to ensure everyone has an opportunity to adopt an animal, including those working.

“You can’t adopt the pet if you’re not open,” Sidenstricker said. “You still can’t [always] do it during the week because people work.”

Sidenstricker worked as a veterinary technician for seven years and has business experience.

“As far as melding the two together, very challenging, but I’ve had some great support from so many people that are teaching me the ropes,” Sidenstricker said. “Give me a month I said. I’ll have it down, but so far I think it’s going amazingly well.”

Several changes have already come to the shelter under Sidenstricker and there’s more on the horizon, she said.

“We’ve made so many changes,” Sidenstricker said. “The commissioners and the administrator, they’re behind everything 100 percent and getting this place up and running and getting it smoothly.”

One of Sidenstricker’s main goals is to get more local residents to adopt from the shelter.

“We have some great dogs and cats back there and I would love to be able to get more adopted,” Sidenstricker said. “Like when people think about a pit[bull], come here.”

Currently the shelter has a screened in porch for the cats, it also allows people to play with cats to potentially adopt. Sidenstricker hopes to have an area inside where people can come in and interact with dogs and cats they hope to adopt.

Sidenstricker said she is building relationships with rescues, but she would like to see local adoptions more.

“My ultimate goal is to see a lot of them adopted out here,” Sidenstricker said. “Finding them a good home is top priority.”

Sidenstricker said she hopes to get the county more involved as she feels they are going to be critical to the shelter’s success.

A new Facebook page is in the works, something Sidenstricker hopes she can get someone more knowledgeable to help with. Sidenstricker said she would welcome any high school students to help as well in exchange for community service hours.

“If somebody is really good at posting pictures and really creative with talking [about] the animals and writing their bios,” Sidenstricker said. “We need Twitter, we need Instagram, [TikTok], you know all those little things.”

Sidenstricker plans to hold a cat adoption event later in the month as the shelter is currently at max capacity for cats and later on, one for dogs.

“[I’d] like to see if I can get as many as possible adopted out,” Sidenstricker said.

Each week Sidenstricker takes a number of animals to be spayed and neutered. She said adoption fees include spay/neuter and rabies vaccine. Cats are $50 and dogs vary from $50 to $100.

While Sidenstricker said the shelter is going in the right direction and she plans for it to continue that way, her main goal is adoption. She said it is all about finding the right fit.

“That’s the approach with every animal, there’s got to be a fit for all of them,” Sidenstricker said.

The shelter is now open for adoptions Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m.

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The dog kennels are cleaned everyday. Dogs are taken to the outside kennels during cleanings for fresh air.

Reading came in with no information, except for a collar that had a reading with dogs tag. Reading is energetic, loving and a big sweetheart.

The feline room at the shelter has been reorganized and cleaned. Manager Denée Sidenstricker said the room will soon be painted and the shelter is currently looking into grants to update the floor. The cats also have a screened-in porch area.

During cleanings, employees allow one or two cats to roam around the room.

The Mason County Animal Shelter is open Monday-Friday from noon- 4 p.m. for the public to come in and adopt animals.

Manager Denée Sidenstricker said she hopes to receive grants or raise enough money to update the outside runs to better serve the dogs before winter.

Shelter reopens, animals available for adoption

Brittany Hively is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter at @britthively; reach her at (740) 444-4303 ext 2555.