Humane Society seeing fewer animals
By Scott Mims
The Chilton County Humane Society reported a steady decline in animal intake over the past three months, from more than 600 animals in June to about 350 in August.
The newest staff member of the Chilton County Humane Society is Joe Joe, an adult male tabby cat, who will assist in temperament testing with dogs to see if they get along with cats. With Joe Joe is shelter worker Jessica Terry.
Adoptions and rescue transfers are also on the rise, but nowhere near where Director Joe Murphy would like them to be.
“It’s just a drop in the bucket,” Murphy said of the increase in adoptions and rescues. “We’re not going to adopt or rescue our way out of this problem.”
Murphy said the public seems to have the illusion that they can bring an unwanted animal to the shelter and the humane society will find it a new home. But that’s simply not the case.
Euthanizations ranged from around 450 in June to around 240 in August.
Murphy said euthanization is the only way to maintain cleanliness and disease control in the shelter. Aside from that, he added, the funding is just not there to vaccinate such a large volume of animals.
Murphy said public education is the key.
“This to me is not an animal problem, it’s a people problem,” he said, “because [the animals] depend on us for everything.”
The three primary responsibilities of a pet owner are spaying/neutering, identification and confinement.
Murphy said he has never owned a pet that had birthed a litter of kittens or puppies. He believes altered animals make better companions.
“Neutered cats are less likely to spray and mark their territory, they are less likely to bite, and there are less behavioral problems,” he said. “They also live longer, healthier lives.”
The shelter has resources available on the advantages of having pets spayed or neutered. Murphy said he could give just as many good reasons for dogs.
“The biggest reason is it does save lives,” he added.
The statistics from Chilton County are not unique. According to the Alabama Humane Federation, 160,000 animals were surrendered to shelters in the state in 2008. About 120,000 of those were euthanized.
In an attempt to curb overpopulation, the Chilton County Humane Society requires all cats and dogs to be spayed or neutered before they leave the shelter.
The shelter partners with a group in Irondale to offer a low-cost spay/neuter program. The animals are transported to the Irondale clinic, fixed and returned to the shelter by the next day.
Murphy said 141 people have taken advantage of the program since the beginning of the year.
For more information about the program, call (205) 956-0012. To make a reservation for pickups, call 755-4611. To contact the Chilton County Humane Society, call 755-9170.