I called Donna Clark, head of the Kanawha-Charleston Animal Shelter, to talk about the project, and mentioned I was stunned by how many animals end up being put down.
"During cat season, we're inundated with kittens," said Clark. "Some people bring in 10 or 20 at a time, packed in one box. It's not unusual for us to have to put 70 or 80 cats and kittens down in one day. The odds of a kitten at the shelter finding a home this time of year isn't good."
A large number of the animals taken to the shelter are owner surrenders, and Clark said their reasons for dropping off the animals seldom vary.
"So many of them say it's because they're moving," said Clark. "I always want to ask, 'Do you give your kids away when you move?' Or they'll say someone left a box of kittens on their porch or the pups just showed up in their yard. No one wants to own up to having never bothered to get their pet fixed, and they think because the pups are so cute, they won't have any trouble finding a home.
"The only dogs that fare pretty well at the shelter are the small breeds. Bigger dogs don't stand much of a chance."
Clark believes the chain of empty collars is an excellent idea, and likes that the shelter can make use of the collars once the event is past.
To aid in their collection effort, a barrel has been placed in the lobby of Charleston Newspapers. Those wanting to help can leave collars, new or used, in the barrel. Because the shelter needs other items, donations of cat litter, puppy and kitten food, old blankets and towels, bleach and paper towels can be left in the barrel as well. Donations can also be taken directly to the shelter on Greenbrier Street in Charleston.
Walters is in charge of the Kanawha-Charleston Shelter's Kids Club, which meets from 12:30 to 5 p.m. every Saturday (except June 21).
Karin Fuller can be reached via e-mail at karinful...@cnpapers.com">karinful...@cnpapers.com. Nicky Walters can be reached at nwalt...@wowktv.com. Fuller's columns can be accessed online through her blog at thegazz.com.