Utica, NY (WIBX) - It's been 100 years of helping abused and abandoned animals find homes in Oneida County for the Steven-Swan Humane Society but the need for volunteers and donations are still great.

The group has been housing animals since its doors opened in 1910 and Public Relations Director, Jerry Kraus said the society is still working to keep its doors open to meet the growing need of sheltering abused animals. He said, "We're over-crowded. There's just so many animals coming in. We take in through the doors about 3,000 animals a year. With that comes costs, including the sheltering, the utilities, the food, the medicine, the staffing and the caring for these animals around the clock." He said the cost to house each animal is about $10 a day and added that it's through the support of a generous community that the group has been able to maintain its work for a millennium.

As the holiday season nears, Kraus said many people may look to giving a child a pet as a gift but said families should consider the responsibility that comes with being a pet owner. He said, "Yes, pets are great for families and great for teaching children responsibility but think long and hard if this is the correct time to bring a pet into your house. Dogs live anywhere from 10 to 15 years and cats sometimes up to 20 years--it's a long commitment. If you're going for an animal, you want to make sure it's being done for the right reason." He said a new pet may be cute and cuddly and fun to play with around Christmas day but people should consider what the care of the animal will entail a week or month after bringing it home.

Kraus is asking the public to continue to donate to the animal shelter by visiting their website: www.stevens-swan.org. He said people can also help by filling their wish, which can be found at:  http://www.stevens-swan.org/wishlist.asp this Christmas. He said volunteers are also very helpful in continuing the Society's effort to shelter abused and abandoned pets. He said, "If anybody wants to get involved they can. Children are also more than welcome to come out to help walk the dogs and comb out the cats." He said young people under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information on how to volunteer contact the shelter at: Pet-Help (738-4357).

Jerry Kraus will be a guest on First Look on Tuesday, (11/30) to talk more about the need for donations and education about pet ownership, and the shelter's mission as they enter the start of a new millennium of helping abused and abandoned animals.