Humane society to hold organizational meeting

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2005

Stray dogs and cats throughout Crenshaw County may have a home in the future.

An organizational meeting for the formation of a humane society for Crenshaw County will be held on Tuesday, April 19 at 6 p.m. at the Chicken Shack.

Crenshaw County, especially, has a significant animal control problem. Currently, upon receiving prior authorization from a city or county official and owner Alethea Gammage, citizens may bring stray animals to Crenshaw Animal Clinic.

Midge Shultz, co-organizer of Tuesday's meeting, moved to the area just four months ago with the express purpose of helping Crenshaw County start a humane society. The society's mission will be to build an animal shelter for use by the county's residents.

According to Shultz, Alabama possesses the highest euthanasia rate for its pets in the country at 87 percent.

"The reason is over breeding," she said. "People are not spaying or neutering their pets."

Co-organizer Sherri Richburg agreed.

"For an animal lover to hear those euthanasia numbers is terrible," she said.

Shultz said statistics from National Humane Society indicate that not spaying or neutering a single cat will result in an increased population of 420,000 cats in seven years. For a single dog the number is 64,000 in six years.

One of the missions of the society, said Shultz, will be to provide low-cost spaying and neutering for pets and education for their owners.

The future home of the society will also be no-kill facility. A full-time employee and volunteers from around the county will staff the shelter. Animals will be fed and cared for and put up for adoption to the public.

Co-organizer Sherri Richburg said Tuesday's meeting would be to gauge the community's interest in a possible humane society and shelter.

"I know there is a need, but we need to see how many people are willing to donate their time and money to this cause," she said. "We know having a permanent animal shelter is way down the line. It's not something that's going to happen overnight and we're not sure what the costs are going to be. We need people who are in it for the long haul."

Richburg said the society is seeking to apply for non-profit status, which would help in securing donations in the future.

Fundraisers will also drive the society, she said, citing examples from other various animal shelters from around the state.

"In Montgomery, I believe, they have a calendar of local pets that they sell," she said. "In Elmore County there was a small shop where the society would sell things people had given them, things that they'd normally sell in a yard sale."

Gammage supports the formation of a humane society for the county.

"It would be a wonderful thing," she said. "Someone once said how a community treats its animals is a direct indication of how it treats its people."

For more information on the meeting, contact Richburg at 335-3404 or Shultz at 527-0075.