New support for petsPublished 12:42am Thursday, February 7, 2013
Representatives of the Andalusia Area Humane Society told the Andalusia City Council Tuesday night they want to form a “Friends of the Shelter” group to provide volunteer and financial support for the Andalusia Animal Shelter.
Humane Society Treasurer Debra Evans outlined the proposal for providing a safe haven for needy animals and supporting spay and neuter efforts to control the pet population.
She said a “Friends of the Shelter” group would:
• Provide funding assistance to spay or neuter animals adopted at the shelter. They propose having the dogs or cats go directly to a local vet for neutering before going to the adoptive home.
State law requires that adopte pets be neutered; however, that is sometimes difficult to enforce, Chief Wilbur Williams, whose department is responsible for the animal shelter, said.
• Establish a food pet pantry for the needy with regular distribution dates at the Humane Society’s new home on Pearl Street.
Evans said the Humane Society recently held such an event, during which 35 individuals or families representing 154 animals sought help.
• Hold adoption days at the new Humane Society facility.
• Apply for grants available to non-profits to increase the local spay/neutering program.
• Maintain a list of member volunteers for the shelter when needed.
Like others who advocate for animals, Evans knows that local spay/neutering programs need to be increased.
During the recent pet pantry event, Evans surveyed participants. Of the 154 animals represented, only a third had been neutered.
“We are trying to reach as many pet owners as we possibly can,” she said. “There are grants out there that allow 100 percent funding to do this.”
Williams said he and the workers at the local shelter welcome the efforts of volunteers. However, he said, the city has to be extremely careful because of liability issues and the potential for animals to harm volunteers.
There are lots of things that we could use volunteer help for,” he said. “Adoption, spay and neutering, and everyday duties. We just have to be careful.”
By the numbers
Andalusia Area Animal Shelter in 2012*
• 1,601 animals total brought to the shelter.
• Average of 133 per month
• 274 animals adopted
• 98 pets returned to rightful owners
*The city shelter also provides services for Covington County.