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Shelter needs help with hundreds of 'little victories'

Lawrence Pierce
Little Victories Animal Rescue & Adoption Center volunteer Adrianna Battista holds one of the Cabell County "no-kill" shelter's newest guests, Chewy.
Lawrence Pierce Sue Brown, founder of the Little Victories animal shelter, plays with one of hundreds of pets housed at her shelter in Ona.
Lawrence Pierce The Little Victories Animal Rescue & Adoption Center in Ona is one of the state's only self-supported "no kill" shelters.
Lawrence Pierce Mechelle Mullins, manager of Little Victories Animal Rescue & Adoption Center in Ona, takes one of her guests for a walk.
Lawrence Pierce A recent visitor to the Little Victories animal shelter has the undivided attention of these fervent felines.

ONA, W.Va. -- A few miles up a dead-end road in the town of Ona, hundreds of homeless, sick animals have found sanctuary.

A dog that recently underwent open-heart surgery, a puppy that can walk thanks to an orthopedic operation and "Meanie" Beanie Weenie, a temperamental dachshund, all have one thing in common: They're "little victories."

"You can't just turn them away," said Sue Brown, founder of the Little Victories Animal Rescue & Adoption Center. "Some of these guys were dumped on the side of the road, and some of them just barked too much for their owner. We love them all and we do whatever we can to help them become great pets and find them homes."

The grass-roots shelter is one of the few in the state with a "no-kill" philosophy, and has only euthanized about 10 animals since it was founded a decade ago.

"The animals we've had to put down were so injured or abused that the vet couldn't help them. They were suffering," Brown said. "We work constantly to raise enough money to help every animal we can."

The shelter, which survives solely on donations and self-driven fundraisers, currently houses about 250 dogs and cats, racking up about $80,000 just in vet bills each year.

"That's hard to afford on bake sales alone," Brown said.

The shelter, which is dedicated to nursing abandoned animals and adopting them out to "forever homes," was hit hard this year, Brown said.

"This is the lowest our donations have ever been," she said. "With this economy, people will get rid of pets because they can't afford them, which means we have more animals and less money. We are really hurting."

But, Little Victories isn't giving up.

Volunteers continue to nurture the animals around the clock, constantly thinking of new ideas to raise money.

The latest installment is "Posh Paws," a pet-grooming center that is now running out of the shelter. All of the money will directly benefit Little Victories' mission.

"I used to spend nights in my office crying because of all the animals that have been abused or abandoned and need my help," Brown said. "But now, I try to only focus on the good - all of the animals we've saved and are continuing to save."

Adoption fees for dogs range from $75 to $150 and cats range from $50 to $75. The fee includes all vaccinations, shots and other preventative services.

Adoption forms can be submitted at www.littlevictories.org. For more information, call 304-743-5802.

Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.


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