Animals trying to survive have a place to go

CatWe see them all over the county. Dogs and cats wondering around, digging through trash for food and trying to survive. They did not ask to be born, but they do not deserve to be abandoned. They are, after all, God’s creatures too.
But in a tough economy, the ASPCA organizations nationwide have reported an increase in these types of cases. As recent as Friday morning the Powell County Animal Shelter reported a female hunting dog and 12 puppies were dropped off. The pups eyes were not even open yet.
While there is an animal shelter run by the county here, there are also several groups trying to help as well. One group has even opened their own sanctuary for small dogs and cats. And their organizer knows a little bit about surviving.
Linda Powell, a registered nurse who has worked at St. Joseph Hospital and the Fayette County Detention Center to name a few places, opened Brianna’s Sanctuary & Rescue at her home on Black Creek just north of Clay City. Powell has survived two strokes and calls herself a “life-long animal lover.”
“We want to take pets in or rescue them from the pound and find them a new home,” Powell said as she sat in a swing watching over some cats as they ate. “It may be a big undertaking, but we have to help.”
But where did the name for the sanctuary come from? “In honor of my niece, Brianna Combs, who is 12 years old,” Powell answered. “When she was small, 3 or 4 she used to say, ‘I gonna be a vet’ and one day she wanted to know why we didn’t have her name on the door of the little houses where my office will be. Maybe someday she will become a vet, and take over Brianna’s Sanctuary and Rescue, I hope so, she loves animals of all kind even frogs.”
Powell and her group, which she said numbers around 18 active members, has taken up the cause full strength. The sanctuary already has 40 cats ,and 18 dogs. That included a Jack Russell and a Chihuahua they received just before the interview with the Times.
“When they first come in we quarantine them for about two weeks to make sure they will be alright,” Powell explained. The animals are placed in kennels and treated for any ailments they may have. That includes wounds, matted hair, as well as giving them worm medicine, vaccines and any shots they may need.
“These items cost a bit and we are looking for some ways to generate some money to help,” Powell said. “We’ve been getting some donation of food and money and we really appreciate it.”
The group members have reached out beyond Powell County for some assistance. Some of the members like Elessa Goins come from places like Lexington. Others like Mary Stone live right here and new members like Ginger Smiley are new to the area and the cause. “We all want to work together and help the pets,” Goins said. “That is why we have found a doctor (veterinarian) who is willing to spay, neuter, give shots at some really good prices.  It helps us, the animals and she is raising money for a trip to help animals in Latin America.” The doctor is also from Lexington and will be assisting the group in late September.
The group is appreciative of the efforts made by Powell County Animal Control Officer Randall Martin. “He has really helped make the pound cleaner and better,” Powell and the members on hand for the interview agreed. “He has done a great job with what he has to work with.”
The sanctuary has dogs and cats that roam freely. But they seem to enjoy the company when the group arrives. The attention the pets receive seems appreciated and he group seems tom love it too. “They need love and someone to take care of them,” Stone, who has seven dogs at her home, said. “If you took them in, feed them and take care of them.”
“We know there are other groups working to help the animals,” Powell said. “We all just want to work together for a common goal. But we will continue our work too. They animals come first, they are like children and we need to take care of them.”
The sanctuary is looking for ways to generate funds to help the animals. All of the animals will be spayed or neutered before they are found a new home. “That cost money, but we trust we can help them and we know there are others out there who love animals and want to help too,” Powell said. “They can help us help animals and even join us. We have a new member who has arthritis and can’t walk the dogs, but she can pet and love on them. They need that and I think her doing that helps her too.”
If you want to help Brianna’s Sanctuary & Rescue, you can call Powell at (859) 576-4846. The ultimate goal of the group is to find the animals a good home. “It breaks my heart to see so many animals turned out on the streets or stuck in the pound,” Powell said. “We’d sure like to change that for as many as we can.”