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Animals Get A Little TLC During WV Water Crisis

Reported: Jan. 15, 2014 11:18 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 15, 2014 11:32 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- When it comes to our pets we certainly don't want to see anything bad happen to them. And when we are told not to use the water at all, that's going to change the way we care for animals.

But, thankfully, there's been an outpouring of support for them, too.

"Things have been a little crazy at the shelter but we've managing," Chelsea Staley, with the Kanawha-Charleston Animal Shelter, said.

The Kanawha-Charleston Animal Shelter was closed for several days following the MCHM spill at Freedom Industries. And, as a precaution, cleaning cages and filling water bowls came to a sudden halt.

"As soon as we got in on Friday we were able to change everybody's water," Staley said. "Everybody's been drinking bottled water since."

People from North Carolina to Wheeling to as far as Maryland were bringing bottled water to the shelter. Staley said people brought "three bottles of water because that's all they could spare."

Luckily, the animals at the shelter haven't experienced any sickness from this leak. Dr. Jennifer Snider said she hasn't seen many sick animals since the leak either.

She credits much of that to the handlers at the shelter and pet owners.

"When they got the notification not to drink the water, I think that they realized that their pets shouldn't be drinking the water either," Snider said. "Some pets have a very sensitive sense of smell. They may not even drink the water if there's a funny smell to it."

And from the indoors to the outdoors, on Wednesday, the Division of Natural resources conducted fish surveys in the wake of the leak. The purpose was to measure potential impacts to the fish population.

"We are not aware of any adverse impacts that this water has the potential to cause," Randy Huffman, with the Department of Environmental Protection, said. "No problems with fish kills. No other impacts to the aquatic life or to the wildlife."

And while the DNR waits for those test results, and we wait to hear on the exact dangers of the MCHM chemical, for humans and pets alike, it's better to be safe than sorry.

"If you are not comfortable drinking the water yourself, don't give it to your pets," Snider said.



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