VSSJ's most recent bake sale fund-raiser was for this local animal shelter.
NJ - Almost Home Animal Shelter Needs Help
The only animal shelter between Voorhees and Blackwood is in dire financial straits, says Executive Director Nancy Welsh.
By Matt Skoufalos
6/6/13 - 1:21 am
Video on web page
Cases like that of "Puma," the dog whose owner was arrested by Collingswood Police for alleged animal cruelty are unfortunately not so uncommon in Collingswood, says Nancy Welsh, executive director of the Almost Home Animal Shelter in Pennsauken.
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"Usually it's things like keeping a dog tied out in the yard with no shelter, no water," she said.
"We had one case where there was a pit bull, a yorkie and two alligators in an eighth-floor apartment in the Heights of Collingswood a few years ago," Welsh said.
It sounded like the punchline to a joke.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that for all the work that Almost Home does to help animals like "Puma" by the way, Welsh found out his actual name is Rossthe nonprofit center might not be around long enough to handle too many more cases like his.
Begun in 2007 as a temporary stopgap for the animal services needs of several towns along the Camden and Burlington County border, the Pennsauken-based Almost Home Animal Shelter is in dire financial straits, Welsh said.
Twice-scuttled plans to erect a facility more comprehensive, functional and welcoming than the out-of-the-way, industrial park warehouse in which it is situated have left the shelter in something of a no-man's land, even if the volume of animals it's tasked to assist remains undiminished.
Everything 39;s gotten worse in a down economy, too, she said.
"People who are moving, lost their job, are calling around to see who can take their animals," Welsh said. "It' s not a welcoming building. It's a warehouse. And it's not supposed to be here this long. We do the best we can in this building in this situation."
The closest place for people to go for low-cost vaccinations, spaying and neutering for their animals is either in Blackwood or Voorhees, and she said residents in this part of the county aren't going to drive out there.
"We get phone calls every single day asking for those services, wanting to know if we have it, if they can just come here," she said.
"We need a shelter, not just a clinic, in this area."
Almost Home provides animal control services for eight municipalities Audubon, Collingswood, Oaklyn, Woodlynne, Mt. Ephraim, Merchantville, Pennsauken and Gloucester City.
Although the towns pay monthly for those services, Welsh says the $18,000 it generates monthly isn't even enough to make payroll, let alone provide all the other supplies the shelter needs to operate.
Material support is always welcome, Welsh said, but those who can't give money might be able to help by donating cleaning supplies, old blankets and towels, bedding material, toys, food, cat litter.
The shelter needs volunteers for any number of tasks. It's not just walking dogs, playing with cats and cleaning kennelsalthough those are critically necessary services. Almost Home needs a website makeover, grantwriting help; even volunteers to handle incoming phone calls for a few hours a week (a formerly paid position that Welsh had to eliminate).
"Somehow we always manage to get through," Welsh said.
But for a lady who deals in animals, she's running out of rabbits to pull out of her hat.
Almost Home Animal Shelter is located at 9140 Pennsauken Highway in Pennsauken, NJ. If you'd like to volunteer to help, call (856) 663-3058 or contact Welsh at almosthomeshelter@ comcast.net.