HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – Mercer County does not have its own animal shelter — instead, six communities run their own shelter out of a 50-year-old building in need of repairs. Now leaders say that has to change.
For almost 11 years, the Mercer County Council of Governments (COG) has controlled the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter in Hermitage.
That was until last October when the COG realized it’s supposed to have a board of control made up of representatives from the communities it serves — Sharon, Farrell, Wheatland, West Middlesex, Hermitage, and Sharpsville.
“The shelter was built 50 years ago as an animal rescue building and it’s really changed through the years,” Piccirilli said. “Besides animal rescue, it should be a place where people can come and adopt dogs.”
He said the animals are safe and being taken care of but the facility is doing the bare minimum, likely because of how dated it is.
“The number of adoptions are not that high but I think if we have a shelter that is more amenable to people coming in, there would be more adoptions.”
With the new board and donations they’re receiving, they’re hoping to refurbish or rebuild the shelter and give the animals more medical attention, including vaccinations and spaying and neutering.
“The only way this is going to work is if the community and volunteers work together,” Piccirilli said.
They also want to work with local animal organizations.
It wants to update its policies as well.
“We’re almost starting over. We need to develop policies and procedures,” said Duane Piccirilli, the animal shelter board of control president.
Right now, it doesn’t have volunteer liability or euthanasia policies. The euthanasia policy would make it a no-kill shelter but would allow medical professionals to put down animals that are unadoptable or can’t be rehabilitated.
The facility also doesn’t have a media policy, which is why WKBN 27 First News got to go inside Monday.
The board hopes to have most of the community and volunteer work in place by this summer.