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State College nonprofit working to protect animals

By: Lauren Hensley

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.-- Lucky and sister Autumn are two 10-week-old coonhound and beagle mix puppies,  they are the newest animals rescued by Happy Valley Animals in Need. Cortlyn Johnson is the founder the nonprofit, which is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all animals and their owners in Centre County. The idea began two years ago while Johnson was in school.

I have always been really big into being involved with local rescues. As a child I worked with PAWS, and when I went to school and graduated with my business degree I wanted to use it towards my love of animals, Johnson said.

Happy Valley Animals in Need is not a traditional animal shelter, but instead its success is dependent on volunteers who will foster animals at their home until a more permanent situation can be arranged.  So far 18 volunteers can be found throughout Centre County, but there's still a need for more volunteers to open up their hearts and homes.

We do not have a shelter so sometimes the volunteering can be something as much as dog walks or even help with the laundry, Johnson said.

Johnson said the long-term goal of the organization is to have a shelter, and strengthen animal protection laws in State College and all across the Keystone State.  Pennsylvania has some of the weakest laws and punishments when it comes to animal cruelty offenders compared to other states. She said in the last two years there has been a significant improvement.

We have been being heard, we are helping law enforcement get involved more and there are people being prosecuted thanks to the district attorney and others in local legislation we are really starting to see a change and a change for the positive, Johnson said.  

Johnson said there is still a long way to go and she hopes to further the nonprofit mission so animals like Lucky and Autumn will always be assured a good quality of life.

Lucky and Autumn are both up for adoption. For more information contact Happy Valley Animals in Need, or (814) 505-7229.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times