Animal Rescue League holds meeting about becoming no-kill

Plan requires cooperation from public

CUMRU TWP., Pa. - The Animal Rescue League of Berks County wants to transform its facility into a no-kill shelter, but it cannot do that without public support.

That was a key part of the message delivered Wednesday night at a town hall meeting at the ARL facility in Cumru Township, where the agency educated the public about what it would entail to reshape the shelter.

"The purpose of these meetings is to introduce the no-kill concept," said Tom Hubric, interim director of the ARL.

Amid an outcry that followed the accidental euthanization of two pet cats, the ARL is conducting these meetings as it explores becoming a no-kill shelter.

It's a concept that animal lovers embrace.

"It's an initiative that I felt that we should have long been addressing. It's a shame that it took some recent bad events to get to this point," said Lori Hershberger of Blandon.

But it's one that requires a lot of adjustments behind the scenes. Number one?

"We need more people to adopt animals," Hubric said.

More people would need to look to the shelter when seeking a pet.

"We need people to stop going to the pet store at the mall," Hubric said. "We need people to stop buying from puppy mills."

Hershberger, who supports the initiative, would like more company for the cause.

"I'm encouraged by what I heard and hopeful that the community will support it," Hershberger said.

Hubric also said that support is needed on the volunteer level.

"We need more people to volunteer, to come here to the shelter to help care for animals," Hubric said. "We need people who are willing to come here to take animals into their homes and provide them with care."

Additionally, he said, the financials are daunting when comparing a shelter and a no-kill shelter.

"For about 10 bucks, you can euthanize an animal. It's gonna cost us about $235 to save that animal," explained Hubric.

In addition to funding, the ARL will need a 90 percent release rate. Right now, it's close insofar as dogs, at 87 percent, but for cats, the rate is just 45 percent.

The ARL plans to have more town hall meetings regarding this issue and hopes to transition to a no-kill shelter sometime in 2019.

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