Pet Rescue Center turns six months and approaches 1,000 cats and dogs


SUN LUMINOUS – August marked the sixth anniversary of MoCo Mutts Rescue Center in their new facility here. It also marked a milestone.

After receiving 760 cats and dogs in 2020, MoCo Mutts reached 787 in early August and is now rapidly approaching 1,000 for 2021.

When MoCoMutts president and founder Lisa Hill moved to Sunbright from Washington state with her husband Jeff in 2018, they intended to continue their senior dog shelter and animal rescue. However, since neither Morgan County nor neighboring Scott County had an animal control or rescue facility, Hill and her co-founder Tracy Wyant, of Maryland, expanded their mission and began accepting the stray and unwanted cats and dogs of all ages.

In 2019, the rescue operation realized the need for a more permanent and accessible facility and purchased the old Habitat for Humanity building from Sunbright. They started moving into the new facility in February 2021 and the dog lodge was renamed MoCo Mutts.

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Despite being based in Morgan County, MoCo Mutts says a growing number of stray pets and owner surrenders have been filed from Scott County. Rescue’s proximity to Scott County, via easy access on US Hwy. 27, and increased awareness has resulted in an increase in the number of animals coming from Scott County. During the month of August 22 animals were brought in from Scott County.

The increase in the number of animals in Scott County has increased the pressure on the rescue centre’s limited resources, and its founders have contacted Scott County officials to discuss financial or logistical support.

The center says the increased public awareness had a big influence on its admissions numbers. Abandoned animals now represent 55% of all intakes, up from 30% last year. Many owners say they can no longer care for their pets due to job loss, family or health issues, or other hardships. Covid restrictions have made it difficult for some owners to spay or neuter their pets.

The shelter has been caring for an average of more than 80 dogs and 40 cats daily for several months, with a waiting list for certain sizes of animals as the kennel space is limited. In some cases, when owners are informed that there is a waiting list, they release their animal nearby and it is retrieved as a stray animal or as an injured animal if struck by a vehicle while wandering. freely.

The shelter is currently at maximum capacity, with over 100 animals in its care. The current animal count has forced the facility to offer edge service only for donation deposits and animal catches. Open visits by potential adopters have ceased, due to the stressful and disruptive environment it creates, as 80 resting dogs become 80 barking dogs.

Anyone interested in adopting an animal should contact the rescue operation to request an adoption.

MoCo Mutts is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers, including its co-founders. Rescue recently hired a part-time employee to take care of certain kennel duties to ensure all day-to-day chores are completed when adequate volunteers are not available, and to allow Hill and Wyant to focus. on other tasks.

Although some animals are adopted locally, the limited availability of spaying and neutering services in Morgan and Scott counties makes it difficult to prepare animals for adoption in a timely manner. So far this year, MoCo Mutts has adopted 16 animals from residents of Morgan or Scott County and has transported 468 animals to shelters outside the area for later adoption.

Since they have to rely primarily on volunteers to operate, MoCo Mutts are always on the lookout for reliable adults who can consistently dedicate a few hours per week to take the dogs out, clean the kennels and prepare and fill their food bowls and of water. For insurance liability reasons, the rescue cannot use children under the age of 18. phone, fundraising or fundraising. Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Rescue to apply to volunteer. This allows the rescue to match the duties of the center with the wishes and abilities of a volunteer.

Community support is another important part of managing the rescue, and tax-deductible donations are always needed and appreciated. Several businesses in the area are currently collecting donations for MoCo Mutts (i.e. Lilly Pad Hopyard Brewery and Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary), and more collection boxes are being prepared for other places in the county. Frozen Head State Park scheduled two events in which shelter supplies, such as pet food and cat litter, for the rescue were requested in lieu of the event fee. Lilly Pad Hopyard Brewery is hosting a MoCo Mutts Day at the Brewery on September 18th. They are brewing a special beer for the event which will also include an art exhibit, food and music. They will sell a commemorative glass and a sticker with the beer and the proceeds will go to MoCo Mutts. In October, MoCo Mutts will partner with the Oneida Tractor Supply Company store pet event and offer animals for adoption as well as merchandise for sale. Their mascot Muttley will also be present, providing photo opportunities for children, and his human handlers will be happy to answer questions, provide information and accept donations during the event.

Donations are always needed as the shelter needs a constant supply of kitten, cat, puppy and dog food (canned and dry), cat litter, paper towels, bleach and laundry detergent. There is also a need for portable kennels in good condition and for wire and welded steel kennels to house animals while they are in the care of the rescue or in transit to their permanent home. MoCo Mutts are currently improving their kennels with kennels that are easier to clean, healthier and safer for dogs and cats. Rescue has a wishlist on Amazon (under the old name, Senior Dog Lodge) and is listed on, so a small portion of the money you spend goes back to the community under form of donation to MoCo Mutts.

Rescue is currently looking for a reliable large van or shuttle to transport the animals to partner rescues allowing for faster adoptions for the animals. There is still a need for cash donations to help pay for all non-donated supplies, veterinary and medical services, as well as mortgage and utility payments. Morgan County Commission has allocated funds in the current budget to help MoCo Mutts operate although this amount is only a fraction of the actual annual operating costs. Morgan County Director Brian Langley and several Morgan County Commissioners said they will continue to support the shelter and try to allocate additional resources if they become available. The shelter hopes Scott County will also be able to offer assistance in light of increased Scott County animal rescue support.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Lisa Hill or Tracy Wyant at (423) 628-5060.


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