For the person in your life who has everything, how about giving a gift in their name to creatures who have nothing this holiday season?
There are many shelters, rescue groups and various animal programs worth supporting in southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey - too many to mention in one take. Herewith is a first take of a list, but please feel free to send more names my way (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hard times make for harder than usual times for cash-strapped shelters. The economy has forced many people to surrender their pets. There is a never-ending stream of neglected and abused animals who need rescuing. Prosecution of abusers is costly too. Many shelters offer pet "sponsorship" and other specific ways to target your donation. If you cannot swing a monetary donation, consider donating to a shelter's thrift store or offering animal supplies. Most shelters have wish lists on their websites for different products they need.
Two special mentions at the top of this list.
First, Better Days Animal League, which operates two shelters - one in Chambersburg and another in Shippensburg, west of Harrisburg, suffered a terrible human tragedy in recent weeks. A car wreck claimed the life of one key volunteer, who managed the shelter's thrift store, and critically injured another. The shelter conducts animal cruelty investigations, and together with Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, fights to protect animals in at least three counties.
In the southeast, Folcroft Police Department sadly lost one of its officers last month and needs help to fund his replacement. Logan a 7-year-old German Shepherd bomb detection K-9, was euthanized after being diagnosed with Wobbler's Disease. The police department cannot afford the $16,500 to $18,500 for the purchase of and transport of a new dog to put into service. The Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services, the Langhorne veterinary hospital that treated Logan, has started the drive to help the police department with its initial donation to try to help Logan. If you would like to contribute there is an account set up at the Beneficial Bank, Delcroft Shopping Center Branch, 1862 Delmar dr, Folcroft, Pa 19032, Account#9300264299.
The Pennsylvania SPCA - as you saw from the earlier Animal Watch post today, the PSPCA works 24/7 to save animals in the most dire of circumstances and prosecute those who harm them. That's in addition to running the largest shelter in the state - although that status may well change with the assumption of Philadelphia animal control duties by a new quasi-governmental entity: the Animal Care and Control Team.
Main Line Animal Rescue, which has made national news for its efforts to combat puppy mills and rescue breeder dogs and Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals are both in Chester County. Then there is Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), in the city, which is going gangbusters with its low cost health care and spay-neuter programs.
For cats consider: Tabby's Place in New Jersey, a no-kill shelter for cats, that offers a "virtual adoption" program where you help support one of their residents, like special needs kitty Mittens shown above. Also City Kitties in west Philadelphia, which uses a network of foster homes to help homeless cats. They are currently running an online gift auction.
New Jersey Aid for Animals, does wonderful work helping abused and neglected animals in Camden. It just reported a successful effort to raise funds for dog houses to shelter pets of low income residents.
At Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen you can sponsor a rescued turkey, a goat or pig - like Jane - and be assured they will live out their lives in the peace of the sanctuary.