Those of us who serve on the
Humane Society of Chilton County board of directors, our volunteers
and staff have all worked hard this past year on getting more
animals adopted and rescued this past year, and we thrilled to
announce that we have reduced the yearly euthanasia rate at the
shelter by 21%!
Our county has an animal population
problem, but we are not the only area facing this problem. According
to the American Humane Society, 4 million dogs and cats are
euthanized nationally, or one every eight seconds. Alabama counties
vary from having a euthanization rate as low as 50 percent to as high
as 85 percent or more. The more rural the county, the higher the
euthanasia rate since rural counties usually have smaller and more
poorly funded shelters.
In 2014, we had a 75% euthanasia
rate. Some of this was due to parvo outbreaks that occurred during
the heavy puppy season in the spring and the fact that the shelter
building can only house 100-120 animals at a time. In the spring,
puppies would end up on the concrete and it didn't seem any chemical
could kill the parvo virus, plus, any new puppies coming in with
parvo would infect the others.
In 2015 we took several
steps to avoid these issues. First, the shelter was re-arranged, we
now have an isolation area to hold stray puppies, small and medium
sized dogs to make sure they are not sick before entering the general
population. The puppy and small dog room was moved and all puppies
are now kenneled in stainless steel wall kennels. We also decided
to take advantage of the outdoor space and have been erecting outside
kennels, giving the dogs the opportunity for play and increasing the
population of larger dogs we can maintain.
developed a standard operating procedure for the shelter staff to
follow on euthanasia, space is now the last item on our list for
euthanasia and we haven't euthanized for space in many months at this
time. Our director, Kimberly Ruck, worked closely with rescue to
increase the number of animals who were rescued. Our new president,
Krystine Gish, worked with some amazing donors and in the last three
months conducted adoption specials. During the month of October with
our $20 donation adoption special we adopted 121 animals, a record
that shattered previous records and one that we'd love to break. We
also held adoption specials for Veterans, and for black dogs and cats
both with the backing of donors.
Licorice and 6 siblings came into the shelter with a bad case of mange,
instead of euthanizing the litter we treated their mange.
Additionally, we recently
lowered the normal adoption fees. Cats went from an $80 adoption fee
to $25 for cats over six months, and $50 for kittens. We also
lowered the adoption rate for dogs from $125 to $100 and recently to
$85 and $50 for senior dogs 6 years and older.
Neuter and Release (TNR) program, a long term goal, was begun.
Overseen by board member Michelle Monahan, a small but dedicated
team of our volunteers trap feral cat colonies and transport them to
Birmingham to the nonprofit Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic. After the
cats are “fixed” they are returned to their colonies if they have
a caretaker, or, they can go into our Barn Cat Program where we offer
the cats free to people to control the rodent population in their
barns and out buildings. In the three months this program has been
in existence over 100 cats have been trapped and “fixed.” This
program will greatly reduce the amount of unwanted cats roaming wild
and starving to death in our area, and will in the long run reduce
the amount of cats coming into the shelter.
All of these
items taken together have reduced our euthanasia rate to the point
that we are no longer a high kill shelter and can celebrate one of
the lowest euthanasia rates in the state for last year.
we're not satisfied, 54% was still far too many animals euthanized.
However we need help from the local community to reduce this rate
The spring puppy season is coming. and the
puppies that will fill our shelter are being conceived now and in the
coming month. Please get your pet spayed or neutered, or if you
can't. take common sense steps to avoid a pregnancy by separating the
female from any males. If you do have a pregnant dog and you plan to
bring the litter to the shelter please make sure the puppies are not
kept on the ground, they contract parvo in that manner and then can
infect the other puppies, forcing us to euthanize them. The
Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic is offering free transport from Chilton
County to their location in Birmingham for lower cost spay and
neuters, you can get further reductions in the cost if you receive
any sort of government assistance or if you are on Social Security.
They'll even set up payments for you. Their phone number is (205)
We have other programs to be introduced soon to
help with the county's animal overpopulation problem. We have some
large fundraisers planned for the coming year to help, but, we'll
still need help from the community to help us make the shelter
We need more monetary donations, we need an
electrician to help us erect a new scrolling programmable sign
donated by Johnson Controls' Blue Sky Project and someone to help us
move our old sign. We need people with machinery to help level areas
for new kennels, we need concrete workers and carpenters.
are not perfect, we still deal with a shelter building that can only
house 100-120 animals where a lot of the heaters don't work and the
washers and dryers we have are second hand and fail to keep up with
the load. We need more kennels in the play yards, we have roughly
five acres and want to utilize more of that space. We have certainly
had our stumbles this past year, after all, dealing with the amount
of animals that we receive is overwhelming. Just last month, 197
animals came to the shelter, in the height of the spring puppy/kitten
season that number has gone as high as 311.
We also have had
financial problems that we struggled through, but we did struggle
through them and are happy to say the only time the shelter doors
closed was to paint the building inside and out.
feels we are well on our way to having a shelter the citizens of
Chilton County can be proud of, and a humane society overseeing it
that helps the community reduce the population problem. The shelter
has never had as many volunteers as we have now, but we need more to
get more accomplished.
If you would like to help us make more changes to help Chilton County's animals please click on the paypal donation button on the left or mail a donation to 139 Shade Tree Drive, Clanton, AL 35045