PAWS seeks donations to restock pet food pantry; still awaiting Florence insurance settlement

Pet Adoption and Welfare Society of Carteret vice president Donna Youraine stands next to the nearly empty shelves that normally contain pet food and supplies for needy county families at the PAWS adoption center in Morehead City. PAWS is seeking donations of pet food and other supplies to restock the shelves. (Cheryl Burke photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — Despite the need for extensive repairs to its pet adoption center, one nonprofit animal welfare group continues to assist needy families with free pet food and supplies.

The Pet Adoption and Welfare Society (PAWS) of Carteret is in need of donations of pet food and supplies to continue assisting pet owners.

“We still get calls from people every day who need help with food for their pets,” PAWS vice president Donna Youraine said Thursday. “We’re trying to get the pantry restocked so we can continue to help families.”

Items needed include dog and cat food, kitten and puppy food and non-clumping cat litter, among other items.

While the group continues to help families, Ms. Youraine said PAWS is still waiting on an insurance settlement in order to make about $200,000 worth of needed repairs to its pet adoption center at 5042 Mattie St. in Morehead City.

“We’re hoping to hear something by the end of July,” she said.

It’s been a long, uphill battle for PAWS, which had just finished construction of a $1.5 million no-kill animal shelter, which is part of the pet adoption center, when Hurricane Florence struck in September 2018.

The high winds and heavy rains caused extensive damage to a large portion of the pet adoption center, which also houses the business office and education area used to present free clinics to test pets for feline leukemia and heartworms.

Because of the damage, PAWS had to close the center and begin the arduous insurance filing process. It’s been a battle since, according to Ms. Youraine.

PAWS also sustained extensive damage to its thrift store at 5243 Highway 70 in Morehead City. However, Ms. Youraine said when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many of the store’s volunteers left and she’s only been able to operate the store on limited hours. The thrift store generates funds for PAWS to meet operational needs.

Despite the challenges, Ms. Youraine hopes the organization will soon receive an insurance settlement and begin making repairs to the pet adoption center.

She also wants to begin holding events again to raise funds to finish equipping and staffing for the no-kill shelter so it can open.

“We’re holding a capital fundraising campaign and we need about $350,000 for all of the equipment and the first year’s salaries for staff,” she said.

 The shelter will house up to 60 animals at full capacity. It will be outfitted with an income-producing hydrotherapy unit, used to rehabilitate animals with joint injuries. A small surgical unit is also included and will service all animals in residence.

There will also be a kitten room, feline play room, free roaming cat rooms, canine visitation room for those considering adoption, dog kennels, restrooms and more.

The list of needed equipment includes surgical equipment and supplies, equipment for the intake and exam rooms and more. PAWS is seeking sponsorships for the high-cost items, such as surgical equipment.

PAWS is also applying for grants to help pay salaries for key personnel, which will include a part-time veterinarian and vet tech, as well as two kennel workers. While PAWS has always been a volunteer organization, Ms. Youraine said there would be salaried positions at the new adoption center.

In the meantime, Ms. Youraine said PAWS wants to provide pet food and supplies to those who need them once they have the pantry restocked.

Those who want to donate pet food and supplies can text Ms. Youraine at 252-241-9408 to arrange a time to drop off items.

Those interested in volunteering at the PAWS thrift store can come by the store at 5243 Highway 70, next to No Name Pizza in Morehead City. Thrift store hours are noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Those interested in donating funds toward the no-kill center can mail checks to PAWS, 5042 Mattie St., Morehead City, N.C. 28557. They can also donate online at


Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

(3) comments

David Collins

Fully realize that asking a few questions is probably an exercise in futility but here goes .

What type of insurance did PAWS pay for . private or some sort of government scheme . If private , the company name would be helpful for future reference .

If all these folks can not feed and care for their beloved pets , why do they have them . Sort of like having children you never will be able to care for so you leave it to others to fund . Becoming the American way . Suspect that with all the incessant begging going on these days , donors are getting tapped out and weary .

Volunteers are a fluid bunch . The need to be part of something but not actually locked in like a job , leads to on and off participation .

Sadly , as we enter post pandemic end of lockdowns an seeing a bit of an uptick in stray former pets . Reached the end of their useful purpose perhaps and cast to the four winds ? Free this and that will do just that .


Abandonment is not new-neither is failure to spay/neuter. In fact, education has lead to more sterilizations than ever before….but the problem grows exponentially, especially in poor areas….

David Collins

Having read your response , had to go out and pick stuff up anyway , I took a detour to a mobile home estate park and just as you implied the animals were in abundance and on the loose . Guarantee there is overflow from that animal farm . Visited a more established , yes affluent , neighborhood and saw nothing of the kind . By golly , believe you are on to something . Perhaps there needs to be a minimum income limit established in order to have cats , dogs and whatever . That would give animal control something to sink their teeth into .

Welcome to the discussion.

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