CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association Director Chelsea Staley watched intently Friday as the shelter’s incinerator was dismantled and taken away.
She said the only thing she could think of when she looked at the big, hulking cremation machine was the faces of the dogs and cats that the shelter has put down over the years.
“This is huge,” Staley said as the incinerator’s metal chimney was hoisted up from the roof by a piece of machinery. “This is symbolic for us. We’ve been working toward this for two years. I can’t even describe to you how fulfilling this is.”
With the incinerator gone, Staley said the shelter has taken a big step toward its goal of being a no-kill facility.
The machine was removed for several reasons.
Staley said it was in a state of disrepair, and repairs would have cost $23,000, more than the shelter can afford. She also hopes the removal will help boost morale and reassure residents that healthy animals aren’t being unnecessarily destroyed.
But the main reason it was removed? It’s no longer needed.
She said the costs of running it are high, and the shelter has not euthanized any animals because of space constraints since she took over in September.
“We’re not euthanizing a fraction of the animals that we used to, so being able to remove the incinerator is a statement that we are committed to saving lives,” Staley said. “We saved 98 percent of what came in in February, so we knocked it out of the park in February…”