MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — Animal shelters receive a lot of support from their communities, and that’s no different in Our Town Monticello.
The Piatt County Animal Shelter started more than a decade ago as a foster facility. It moved into its current building about six years ago.
“We are completely volunteer organization and donation based — so we don’t get funded from, you know, the state or the county,” says Diana McPheeters, the shelter’s director. McPheeters says the organization has occasionally received money from the county — but it primarily relies on donations. The shelter gets a lot of support from people in the area .. and that has shown during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 20 animals have been adopted since the pandemic started. McPheeters says most of the families had been looking for new pets already, and decided this was the time to adopt.
“Most of them had lost a pet recently and were looking for a new one, or had been looking for years and trying to figure out the best time when they could be at home for the introduction of the animal to their families and their home — so we weren’t concerned about the animals coming back to us once everyone got back to working on a regular schedule,” she says.
While the shelter has had an increase in adoptions, it has also had to navigate a lot of coronavirus-related policy changes. That includes changing the way people meet the animals and switching things up behind-the-scenes.
“Coming up with protocol on cleaning, how people interact with each other, staggering times and staggering people as they clean,” says McPheeters.
Despite the changes, long-time volunteers are grateful to still be helping out. Not only do they love the animals, but the camaraderie of working together and helping the community.
“It’s a great place to get work experience — and people skills,” says Ethan Tarter.
“My favorite part of volunteering here is just being around and making friends, meeting new people that come in everyday,” says Torey Dyer.
Shelter employees don’t know what the rest of the year will hold. Two of the shelter’s three big fundraisers have been postponed, or are undergoing changes — but they’re confident that support from Our Town Monticello will keep them going.
To learn more about the shelter, donate or adopt, you can click here.