By VIRGINIA ROSS
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Cyndi Sankey is looking for a home.
Not for herself, but for several of her closest four-legged friends.
Sankey, who serves as humane agent for the Humane Society of Mercer County, wants to provide safe housing for the stray, abandoned, neglected or abused dogs being taken in by Rob's Pets and Robert's Kennel on Wilson Road, Hermitage.
"The number could change at any time," she said. "We could have several more come in at any time. You never know. I wish I could take them all home with me. But then tomorrow or next week or next month, there would be even more to bring home."
Dogs taken in: Since Feb. 1, the society has housed 29 dogs. Sankey said 14 of those have been adopted, seven were put down because they weren't adoptable because of deteriorated health or aggressive behavior, and eight remain at Robert's.
The humane society sold its building on Bend Road in Jefferson Township and earlier this year set up shop temporarily at Rob's, which is owned by Roberta Knauf. Faced with financial problems, agency board members had considered ceasing operations.
Needs to move: But now the society is trying to raise enough money to buy another building.
"We're very grateful for Rob's," Sankey said. "We needed a place, and they were kind enough to give us some space. We have an office, a desk and a place to keep the animals. But we really need our own building."
In 1992, the agency bought its Jefferson Township site for $75,000, and late last year still owed $14,000 for the house and building that was used as a kennel.
Sankey said the property wasn't really suitable to house animals and could not meet state regulations as a kennel.
Plus, the site needed more work than the agency could afford -- including the addition of a $10,000 septic system, Sankey said. The agency sold the building for $70,000.
Benefit concert: She said there's slightly more than $5,200 in the agency building fund, but volunteers hope to raise additional money with a benefit "Doo-Wop Concert" May 19 at the Sharon High School auditorium.
The program, which starts at 8 p.m., will feature music by The Marcels, Gene Pitt & amp; the Jive Five, Vito & amp; the Salutations and The Four Dots, and Chuck Gorby & amp; Quiet Storm. Pork Chadwick will serve as master of ceremonies.
Tickets, which are $25 for reserved seats and $12 for general admission, can be purchased at Golden Memories and Shawnee Optical in Hermitage, Hermitage Agway, Grove City Pets at Pine Grove Square, Tracy's Tanning & amp; Hair Salon in Mercer, and National Cash Advance at the Greenville Plaza. Tickets may also be purchased by calling (724) 981-5445.
"We're waiting now for the money from the sale of the old building," Sankey said. "We're hoping to put that with the money we raise from the concert. But we really need support from people in Mercer County if we hope to keep running."
Volunteers: All agency positions, including Sankey's, are volunteer. She said volunteers are needed to clean up after the animals and also to visit with and play with them.
"It's hard to keep this running," she said. "We really need community support. We need people to care about the animals in Mercer County and to be willing to do something to keep them safe."