Putnam Animal Shelter taking orders for ‘memory bricks’

Jon Davis
Metro photos by BEN CALWELL
Jon Davis, Putnam County Chief Humane Officer and Director of the Putnam County Animal Shelter, gazes at engraved bricks in the shelter’s Garden of Memories. The shelter is still accepting orders for the bricks, which can be engraved in memory of deceased pets or family members.
BY Ben Calwell, Metro staff writer
Putnam Review

March 15, 2016

For those who’d like to pay tribute to a deceased pet or family member, the Putnam County Animal Shelter is reminding area residents that there is still plenty of space at the shelter for special bricks engraved with names and sentiments.

The bricks are being installed in the Putnam shelter’s Garden of Memories, which is part of a flower garden landscaping project at the facility. The shelter is across the Kanawha River from Winfield.

Putnam County Chief Humane Officer and Shelter Director Jon Davis said the Garden of Memories continues the efforts of Karen Haynes, who spearheaded a similar fundraising effort to get the new shelter built. Those engraved bricks are in front of the shelter’s main entrance.

“The idea for the memory bricks actually started back in 2007. Karen Haynes began that as a fundraising effort to build the shelter. After we opened, we continued the program,” Davis said.

Each brick costs $100, and the proceeds from the sales go back into the animal shelter for supplies. Peerless Block and Brick in St. Albans makes the bricks for the animal shelter, Davis said.

“It’s a fundraising effort for items we might need. It costs us about $30 (each) to actually have the bricks made, with the remainder of the money going to the shelter as a donation,” he said.

This spring, any new bricks purchased will be placed in the Garden of Memories, which is bordering the building.

“We’re using them to line the garden area around the building. We’ve got some annuals out there, but we plant new flowers each spring.”

Each brick for the Garden of Memories can have three lines with 15 characters on each line.

“It’s for a message they’d like to send to a loved one who has maybe passed away, or in honor or somebody, or in memory of a pet that’s passed away,” Davis said.

For those wanting to order bricks, they need to visit the shelter and fill out forms to indicate what message they want on the bricks. The shelter accepts cash, personal checks and credit or debit cards.

Davis said the new Putnam County Animal Shelter opened in October 2013, replacing the old facility that was behind Winfield Middle School.

“It’s a big step up from the old place,” Davis said.

About three months ago, the shelter started a new spay and neuter program for low-income pet owners residing in Putnam County.

“It permits individuals to have their pets sterilized who might not be able to afford to otherwise. It’s funded through donations. We hold several different events throughout the year to raise funds to supplement the program. There’s no taxpayer money used at all for that,” he said.

The low-income spay/neuter program “is a service we can provide for the community. Plus, it benefits us in the long run, because we won’t see unwanted puppies or kittens coming into the shelter from unsterilized animals.”

Any pet owner in Putnam County who meets the income guidelines can have his or her pet -- regardless of from where it came -- spayed or neutered through the program.

“In three months, I’ve already had about 35 people signed up for the program.”

Davis also reminded area residents that the animal shelter property has walking trails.

“If people want to come and walk some animals, we’ve got about a two-mile trail out through the woods,” he said, adding that the shelter always needs volunteers.

As a community service project, Boy Scout Troop 17, based in Scott Depot, provides upkeep of the trail for the animal shelter.

“They originally put the trail in for us, and then they come every April and maintain it for us.”

The Putnam County Animal Shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 304-586-0249 or visit the animal shelter’s Facebook page.

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