Thank you for donating--I know it is appreciated. As a matter of fact, this update is posted on their Petfinder site
We want to thank everyone for the overwhelming support they have given our animals. We have received 4,000 lb of food from Hill Science Diet, 1,000 lb from a local pet foodbank, gift cards, food reserved for us at various stores, and a van load of goods from a fellow rescue group. We have had many monetary donations and offers of transport, volunteers, etc. It has been absolutely amazing! There is no way to appropriately express our gratitude. Please be patient. I have been trying to respond to each email that has came in, but we have literally had hundreds. We will try to keep updates posted in a timely manner. Again, we extend our thanks.
And this message was sent out:
Due to the overwhelming outpouring of compassion from animal lovers all over, I feel compelled to send this letter. Emails continue to flood in and I'm trying to answer each one. Please be patient and remember we definitely appreciate you. Please pass this on to anyone you know that has made donations. I couldn't possibly reach each one, but would love for them to have a little more of the story.
Thank you so much!
My name is Teresa Taylor and I volunteer for the McDowell Co. Humane Society in southern WV. I take care of emails and the Petfinder account. The ladies do not have computer skills so I try to help with that end. Anyway, we have recently had an outstanding outpouring of generosity, and I feel compelled to tell some of what I know of these ladies and the shelter. There are a lot of scammers out there and I would like to ease any concerns and just try to give some more insight about the shelter--you deserve to have some kind of picture of where your efforts are going.
I met Sharon about 2 1/2 years ago. A local retail store was having a sidewalk sale. I saw this lady standing at the parking lot entrance with a puppy. Since I am drawn to all animals, I walked over to inquire about the pup and found out she was from the shelter (which I didn't even know existed). I asked her if they could use volunteers and she said absolutely. I told her I didn't know how much I could do because I lived 30 minutes away in the next county and have two kids in school. She gave me her phone number and we have been good friends ever since.
Sharon Sagety and Carmen Vega had established a shelter many years ago. The building was under lease and eventually they were forced to give it up. For about 8 years they tried to get a new shelter established. After going through many different channels and people, they finally were able to acquire an old coal company building.The building had sat vacant for years so you can imagine how run down it was inside. Sharon, her mother (who was in her 80's at the time), and Mrs. Vega got down and scrubbed and painted the concrete floors, painted walls, put kennels together, and I'm sure a whole lot of other things I don't know. They had very little help at all.
For about 2-3 years they took care of everything theirselves. Sharon worked as a nurse and would go after working long shifts and care for the animals. Mrs. Vega cleaned kennels and cared for the animals. (Did I mention that Mrs. Vega is 77, a little over 4' tall, and around 100 lb?) This lady shoveled out ditches last year to keep water from running into the kennels while the "workers" looked on. Sharon was the one who always picked up the food, loaded it, and unloaded it herself.
When I first met Sharon, her mother was very ill with a bad heart. Soon afterward, she ended up in the hospital. While Sharon was staying with her mother in the hospital, all the food at the shelter was taken away. Sharon had to restock the food supply when she came back.
Sharon quit her nursing job with only 2 years until she could retire to take care of her mother. People said she was crazy and that she should put her mother in a nursing home. But that's not Sharon. She cared for her mother and cares for those animals with everything in her. She has more compassion than anyone I know.
Many in the community call her an animal hoarder because it is a no kill shelter. She has been criticized for loving hounds, big dogs, those that are not "cute & cuddly". She has been criticized for being selective about adopters. She has been criticized for siezing animals that were not being taken care of properly. She has been accused of being prejudice, had the law called on her for "stealing pets", and slandered all over the county. People who continually allow their pets to have litters want to keep dropping them off at the shelter and she tells them the shelter is full. The people are irresponsible and want to blame someone else. (There are dogs outside-some 2-3 to a kennel, dogs in the basement, dogs in the hallway....honest its full. I have even fostered a few in emergency situations--even though I have 4 of my own.) She has resisted having animals put to sleep because of broken hips or mange and managed to nurse them back to health. She has stayed up round the clock to bottle-feed puppies and kittens that otherwise would have died. I've witnessed alot of these things for myself.
She has told me many stories about those animals in the shelter. She remembers the story behind everyone of them and cares for each of them as if they were her children. I guess, in a way, they are. She is not married and has no children. Those animals have been her life. I wish you could hear some of the stories about those animals.
Sharon and Mrs. Vega are truly angels for the animals. Their health is diminishing and I fear for the fate of any animals that might be left at the shelter should they get passed caring for them all together. Sharon had a heart attack recently which only left half of her heart working. (By the way, she had the heart attack while loading up a hound to take to the vet while the "workers" looked on. Mrs. Vega has not been able to go to the shelter for 2 weeks now.
They get no funding from the county and rely on donations only and use their own resources. Sharon has put 3,000 miles on her vehicle (which is already 10 years old) for the shelter and payed for the gas herself. We have been working with some rescues and these two ladies have loaded up dogs and traveled over 200 miles by themselves to transport them (in the 10 yr old vehicle). It would take a long time to tell of all the things these two ladies have done.
They have been so overwhelmed with so many people caring. Sharon calls it the "Our Christmas Miracle". And truly it is!
I spoke to her about letting their story be known and her response to me was, "Well, stuff like that makes me nervous. I haven't done anything that special. But if the dogs' stories could be told and their pictures shown and they get good homes, that's all I want."
I know there are people all over the world that go to extremes for the welfare of animals, but in one of the poorest counties in WV with very limited resources and support, these two ladies have really went the extra mile. They have really put their hearts and souls in to saving animals.. They are genuine heroes.
To each and everyone of you that have helped and are still helping, from well-wishes to donations of food, money, supplies, transport, etc., I personally extend my thanks. It has touched our hearts beyond measure. I can assure you that all donations will go to benefit the animals. God bless each and everyone of you!
Teresa Taylor, McDowell County Humane Society
So this story has a good outcome.
The airport site says:
Airport use: CLOSED INDEFINITELY
Activation date: 08/1947
Dimensions: 2695 x 50 ft. / 821 x 15 m
Surface: asphalt, in poor condition
PAVEMENT SFC ROUGH & CRACKING.
Runway edge lights: non-standard
NSTD MIRL; NO THLD LGTS; SPACING. NSTD MIRL OTS INDEFLY.
Sounds like it was in horrible shape and 60+ years old.