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    Posted December 19, 2009 by
    Asheville, North Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Wintry weather near you

    Animal Shelter Staff Rally In Spite Of Disasterous Winter Weather


    Asheville, North Carolina: 3 p.m. -- As of 10 a.m. Saturday morning December 19th, more than 53,000 Buncombe County residences were without power - that's half the county! Add to that Asheville Humane Society where 105 homeless and stray animals are being sheltered.

    The shelter has neither lights nor heat but it has plenty of heart thanks to the determination of five heroic shelter staff members who braved nearly a foot of snow to ensure the wellbeing of the dogs and cats. One of the concerns facing Asheville Humane Society is a collapsed tree tangled up in power lines threatening the shelter roof.

    "The County is doing the best they can but with the mass power outages and human service areas, we're planning to be without power at least the next 48 hours," said Jennifer Brehler, director of operations. "The good news is that we have water and some staff has been able to make it to the shelter - some of them walking over a mile in the snow!"


    Due to the power outage, shelter staff members are donning headlamps so they can see inside the shelter while they clean cages and feed the animals. "We're feeding the animals extra food so they have more calories to keep warm. We're also giving them extra blankets so they can snuggle up," explained Guinn Friedman, shelter manager. Those animals requiring medicine are receiving their doses and proper attention. The real difficulty is not being able to launder the used blankets and towels or use the commercial dishwasher. It's also difficult to walk the dogs in the snow since some of the animals are shorter than the snow levels. But the animals seem very happy and content with their caretakers. "Several of the dogs are really enjoying being outside in the snow and are having a terrific time romping around," reports Laura Sparks, animal caretaker who brought her partner along to assist with the animals. "We're making the best of a tough situation and doing everything possible to keep the animals comfortable and happy." A very special thank you to the amazing shelter staff heroes who are making our mission happen: John Edens, Justin Eisman, BreeAnn Keogh, Laura Sparks and Christine Strickland.

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