Shelter transports unwanted animals across the state
Rain splatters on the windshield as Ethel Morgan, Game, Fish, and Parks Animal Shelter Manager, drives her pickup down to the animal shelter near the elk ranch.
The vehicle slides around in the mud and comes to a stop in front of a tin building. From the outside, the building does not look like an animal shelter. Morgan unlocks the shelter door and is greeted by the sounds of puppies barking.
The entry way is home to several lockers where supplies are kept. A large storage area is off to the right. The animal area is equipped with 14 kennels that can comfortably house approximately two dogs per kennel. A large kennel at the end of the room is used as a nursery for mama dogs and pups. Morgan explains that when there are young pups in the shelter they use a kiddy pool for the mom and pups so they are not on the cement floor. At the time of the interview there were two female dogs both with litters of pups and one young heeler mix. At press time, the shelter was empty after a transport to the Humane Society of the Black Hills.
Morgan greets the dogs and sets off to clean up their kennels. Each kennel contains dog food, a water bucket, and a blanket. Morgan and crew care for the dogs at least twice daily. Water bowls, food dishes and floors are bleached on a daily basis in an effort to control the spread of disease. The building is air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. Adoptable animals stay in the shelter for the mandatory 72-hour holding time and are then transported to other humane societies across the state such as The Brookings Regional Humane Society, in Brookings and the Humane Society of the Black Hills, in Rapid City.
“We don’t want to euthanize a dog that still has a chance at a good life,” said Morgan, “however this is sometimes the last option. We are in the process of arranging training that will allow our staff to administer a drug called beuthanasia which is the most humane way to euthanize an animal.”
CRST GFP has teamed up with Friends of Cheyenne River Pets to help transport animals off the reservation with the hope that they will find their forever home. Since the partnership began a mere two months ago 73 dogs have been transported and re-homed.
The shelter has received donations of crates from the City of Pierre. Petsmart donated the crates to the City of Pierre last year to help with misplaced animals during the flood. Other donations including: blankets, leashes, bowls, and food have come from various organizations around the state.
As Morgan moves the female dog and pups to a new kennel and begins to clean the kennel from top to bottom she states, “My main concern is trying to keep the dogs moving and to keep the shelter clean.”
An email has already been sent out to the Friends of Cheyenne River Pets that contains information about the dogs in the shelter as well as photos of the dogs. A volunteer will then arrange transport between the CRST GFP shelter and the shelter that has agreed to take in the dogs.
Morgan finishes cleaning the kennels. She stops to pet a puppy, double checks to ensure the radio is still playing, leaves the light on for the pups, and locks the front door.
To reach CRST Game, Fish, and Parks call 605.964.7812.
For more information on the Brookings Regional Humane Society visit their website brookingshumane.org.
Check out the Humane Society of the Black Hills at www.hsbs.org.
Friend Friends of Cheyenne River Pets on Facebook to find out how to help the animals on the Cheyenne River Reservation.