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Local shelter saves animals

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You open the door and dogs of all different colors, shapes, and sizes jump excitedly against the doors of the cages. Each one hoping that you will be their forever home.

The Richland County Humane Society is a non-profit animal shelter in Mansfield that works to help save animals from abuse and neglect situations and put them into loving homes.

Shelter director Missy Houghton, said that the all of the dogs come from “neglect cruelty and abandonment cases.”

“So the dogs are brought in by the humane agents, very rarely we will take owner surrenders, that’s just if we have space available,” Houghton said.

The cats at the shelter are “stray or owner surrender,” according to Houghton.

“We take those as we have space available. So people are on a waiting list and we call them when we have a spot open.” Houghton said. “That also ensures that we will be able to maintain a no kill status, which we don’t euthanize any healthy animal. They stay with us until they get adopted.”

Shelter manager, Emily Worthington said that some people misunderstand the purpose of the Humane Society.

“A lot of people think, ‘Oh, the Humane Society, if I take a cat there they’re just going to put it down,’” Worthington said. “And we want people to know that we are a no-kill shelter, we don’t kill for space, we don’t euthanize unless the animal is mentally or physically unable to be alive.”
All of the shelter employees are very passionate about their jobs and appreciate the opportunity to help animals.

“It’s a rewarding job,” Houghton said. “It’s incredibly taxing and soul crushing at times but sometimes because you have those very low lows, sometimes you have those very high highs too. The good outweighs the bad.”

Houghton said that one of the best parts of the job is hanging out with animals during the work day.

“Not many other places when you get stressed out you can walk 15 feet down the hallway and sit down with a bunch of cats, so your stress relief is pretty close by,” Houghton said.

Worthington said that rehabilitating and rehoming animals is a difficult but rewarding experience.
“A lot of the animals that have had a rough upbringing or a rough experience in life,” Worthington said. “I mean, out hundreds of animals that have been here, those are the ones that stand out the most to me because they come in and need our help more than any of them. It’s just rewarding to be able to be there for them.”

However the Humane Society always needs people to volunteer, foster, and adopt according to Houghton. They want their animals to be happy while at the shelter, but more importantly they want them to find happiness at their forever home.

“Our shelter is never meant to be a long term stop. We are simply a resting station from point A which is wherever they came from to point B which is their forever home.”

Houghton stressed the importance of having dedicated volunteers at the Humane Society.

“If animal welfare is something that is important to them,” Houghton said. “Then get involved because we’re only as good as the people involved in the organization.”

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