MORGANTOWN — Animal Friends of North Central West Virginia received a $50,000 grant to help continue its mission of providing free spaying and neutering services for those who can’t afford it.
The grant was awarded by The Peterman Foundation.
Kathy Orosz, treasurer for Animal Friends, said the foundation has given grants to her organization since 2011. The first grant was for $5,000, and for the last five years, they were for $50,000 she said.
In addition to spending the grant on its spay and neuter voucher program, Animal Friends can use the money toward medical expenses for animals it rescues, Orosz said.
“It’s a wonderful organization,” treasurer of The Peterman Foundation Sheri Smith, said. “We love being able to support them.”
Animal Friends operates a shelter on Brewer Road in Monongalia County, where animals rescued from shelters are cared for until a home is found. Orosz said the non-profit rescues most of its animals from Monongalia and Harrison counties and recently started taking animals from Preston County.
Monongalia, Marion, Preston, Taylor and Wetzel county residents are able to request vouchers from Animal Friends to spay or neuter their pets. Applications must have photo identification and either an active West Virginia Food Stamp Card or West Virginia Medicaid Card, according to the Animal Friends website. Proof of household income is also acceptable.
Fixing pets is important, but a lot of people can’t afford to do it, Orosz explained.
She said there are a lot of animals multiplying and starving because no one is taking care of them, and the problem is worse with cats than with dogs.
“It’s important to downsize the population,” she said.
Orosz also manages the organization’s thrift shop in the Mountaineer Mall. The shop is run by volunteers, and proceeds help pay the shelter’s expenses.
In 2018, animal friends provided 500 vouchers, the most it’s ever given out, Orosz said.
The Peterman Foundation issued its first grant in 2011, including money to Animal Friends, Smith said.
The private foundation was established by Morgantown locals Richard and Margret Peterman to provide free spaying and neutering to cats and dogs in Monongalia and surrounding counties, she said.
As of 2017, more than 6,000 animals were fixed thanks to grants from the foundation, she said.