By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
The Humane Society Pet Rescue and Adoption Center reported an intake of just over 500 animals in the month of June, bringing the number of intake for the year up to over 1,800 so far. The intake is 450 animals higher this year than it was at this time last year.
In June, 59 animals were adopted out and 24 were sent on transports to northern states and Canada, where demand is higher due to stricter pet ownership and spay and neuter laws and ordinances. These laws and ordinances can cut down on unprofessional breeding operations and eliminate puppy mill practices, keeping animals out of shelters and ultimately saving lives.
“Until laws and ordinances in Alabama become stricter we will not see a decrease in these numbers,” said Brown. “And until we see a decrease in the numbers there is no no-kill in Alabama.”
Humane Society Director Christi Brown said that June’s intake was the highest she has seen since she has been there and that the increase is statewide.
Some of the increase can be attributed to the Humane Society taking in animals from Rainbow City while it builds its new shelter, but Brown said that is not the cause of the problems.
The Humane Society ended its contract with Rainbow City on June 30. Glencoe has offered to help house Rainbow City’s animals until the new animal shelter is completed which is scheduled for the end of August.
“Chief Tim Diggs offered to do this for Rainbow City in part because the Humane Society was so overrun,” said Brown.
Rainbow City residents can call animal control to facilitate getting the animals to them.
Brown said that a big problem is that there has been a large rise in owner surrenders at the shelter recently. In fact, about half of the June intake was owner surrenders and about half were stray animals. The intake for 2017 so far is a similar percentage, with over 900 of the 1,800 animals being surrendered.
“The strays coming inare the ones that can’t fend for themselves and can’t provide their own medical care,” said Brown. “Those are the ones we built the place for.”
Brown said that spaying and neutering is a necessary part of responsible pet ownership.
“Lots of the traffic coming into the shelter consist of puppies and kittens that are unwanted litters,” said Brown.
Adolescent animals are often brought to the shelter because they are no longer “cute.”
To help those with limited financial resources, the Humane Society offers a spay and neuter program to assist those who want the procedure done.
Brown’s other components for responsible pet ownership include a willingness to commit 15 years to a pet and making sure the pet receives food, water, shelter, medical care, human contact and training, if needed.
“We built the shelter so people would have a place to come, but it’s been grossly abused by irresponsible pet owners,” said Brown.
Brown did want to wholeheartedly thank the good samaritans who bring strays to the shelter.
Brown is asking for help from our community to resolve the problem with a difficult conversation with the shelter, pet owners and local leaders. Brown also wants to thank the donors who helped the Humane Society get through this past month.
“I know we can do better,” said Brown.
The Humane Society and the YMCA will host Mutts and Butts on June 8 at 9 a.m. at Noccalula Falls Park. The group will meet at the Wedding Chapel.