LUNENBURG COUNTY, Va.– After Lunenburg County animal control officer Ray Elliott spent his Thanksgiving in a dog kennel to raise money for rural shelter animals, CBS 6 reporter Caroline Coleburn wanted to get in on the mission as part of the CBS 6 Month of Giving.
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This was the 8th year, Elliott chose to forgo traditional Thanksgiving celebrations, spending 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. behind a metal fence and two concrete walls.
He raised more than $15,000 to help spay and neuter cats and dogs in his county.
Because Lunenburg is a rural community, Elliott said it is often underfunded and doesn’t have the resources that city shelters may have.
“We are different, quite different than city shelters, financial wise,” Elliott explained. “We’re in a crunch money wise. We can do certain things with the fundraiser that allows us to provide some care for the animals.”
Over the course of Elliott’s decade of service, he has worked tirelessly to decrease animal intake and euthanasia numbers.
“It’s really sad, but we’re very blessed that we can spend some time with them and show them some compassion,” Elliott said.
“He’s helping the community a lot by bringing awareness for the community,” Central High School senior Connor Mattox said. “You know, we’re rescuing dogs and doing great things.”
Mattox and classmate Joshua Whitehead are just two of the students in Central’s Career and Technical Education Program who’ve been helping Elliott, spending time each week at the shelter, hoping to find every animal a home.
“We support the community, we help Ray out here with the animals, and we have a good time,” said Mattox.
“It just touches my heart tremendously,” Elliott said. “Because this job is very demanding. And it takes so much out of you, you know, to give back and stuff like it, but these guys and gals are getting on board with us. It’s huge.”
If you spend an hour with Elliott, you’ll see he puts these animals before himself.
“I gotta clean your eyeballs,” he said to a young pup in his kennel.
CBS 6 felt it was time to celebrate Elliott and help his mission.
“You think we’re here to do a story on your shelter, but we’re also here to honor you as part of CBS 6 Gives,” reporter Caroline Coleburn said. “I thought you were just an amazing inspirational guy who’s doing a lot for his county, so we want to start off your first donation and give you $200 to use for the shelter here, and we brought all of the kids here to tell you what a great job you’re doing.”
“Thank you so much,” Elliott said. “It’s never about me. Just to take the time that you guys have from your busy schedule and stuff like to come see a rural county and realize, you know, rural counties, we do need some help and stuff like that. And we should be able to ask, and hopefully, people step on board and or jump on board and help us. I’m just so excited.”
Ray Elliott is a voice for his community and a dog’s best friend.
“Yeah that’s a good boy,” he smiled.
If you’d like to help Elliott and the Lunenburg County Animal Shelter, you can donate here. Be sure to mention “Ruffin It” in your donation line.
The shelter is also always looking for dog food, toys, old blankets, and bedding.
Do you know about a good news story happening in your community? Click here to email WTVR.com and the CBS 6 News team.
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