Helping the helpless

At the animal shelter, dozens of lives are at stake

Ms. Alberico is a volunteer at the Butte Humane Society shelter (2579 Fair St., She lives in Chico.

Have you ever held a life in your hands?

A few people in our community do this every day. Our firefighters and police officers, EMTs, doctors and nurses all know the feeling of determining life or death.

There is another place that every day has the job of choosing life or death. Drive down Fair Street (south of East Park Avenue) the next time you’re out, and stop at the Butte Humane Society shelter. Each day many animals are brought to our facility. The people who volunteer there all love animals and want them to live happy lives. They try to take care of them but see too many of them die.

Some die because of sickness; some healthy animals die because there isn’t room at the inn. We have a crowded, contaminated shelter that breeds sickness. We have no licensed veterinarian to care for the injured or sick, and we have strict regulations that sometimes prohibit us from giving immediate care.

We would love to give our animals to good homes free of charge, but we have to make money to keep the shelter open. The fee you pay when you adopt is actually very reasonable, because it includes spay/neuter, microchip and shots. We beg for donations to buy food, litter, bedding and cleaning supplies. Often volunteers buy supplies themselves because they cannot tolerate seeing animals do without the little comfort we can give them. We have lots of love to hand out, but the little ones would also love a warm bed, a cage large enough to turn around in, medicine if sick and, always, a home.

Please don’t make us choose between the loving older cat that has just lost its owner and the litter of darling kittens because our cages are overrun. Please give the beautiful one with blue eyes that has a runny nose a chance to live another day and find a home.

Drive down that street any time, and you will hear the poor dogs, barking from their wet and cold outdoor kennels. Stop and see how hard we all work each morning to give these beautiful animals care and hope. Watch as they carry one into the room to be euthanized and cry with us.

Please help us to help them. Imagine that you hold a sweet, helpless fur baby in your hands. What do you choose to do?