Dunlavey and her husband Marty have volunteered for about three years. The couple participated in many efforts, including pet therapy and community television programming.
“I just loved everything about it,” Dunlavey said.
Many volunteers have adopted their own pets through the local group, including the Dunlaveys, who adopted Penny and Willow from the Society.
Right now, there are three remaining dogs listed on the group’s website for adoption. Cats are handled through a joint mission with Salem-based Feline Friends, another all-volunteer, no-shelter organization.
Dunlavey said all services will now end, including the popular dog obedience classes and pet therapy services to local nursing homes.
Through the years, volunteers say, the rewards were great.
“Barbara (McCarthy) has taught me so much,” Dunlavey said. “And there are a lot of good stories.”
“Animal Control doesn’t find new homes for abandoned pets,” she said. “What is left for the citizens of Derry and their pets?”
Dunlavey said there is still a great need for a humane group in this area. Some volunteers may continue on to try to get another organization together to continue the mission.
“There are some people interested in continuing,” she said.
That would include starting an entirely new organization to start from scratch.
With the group disbanding, it will take a bit more time to tie up all legal issues, Dunlavey said. After that any remaining Society funds will most likely be distributed to other humane societies and rescue groups in the region.
Earlier this month, McCarthy reported there was approximately $30,000 still in the bank.
Zusman said it would be great if someday Derry had its own pet shelter, but that would cost money and take many bodies to make it happen.
“Ideally, the Greater Derry Humane Society should try to fundraise for a local shelter, and enlisting the aid of local business in a really big initiative,” she said. “But since it is made up of kind-hearted volunteers, I think its demise is inevitable. Derry residents will just have to go to other communities for their pets and pet problems. It’s all those unwanted pets I worry for.”