Animal shelter letter addressed
Published 3:28 pm Wednesday, August 20, 2003
I'm writing in response to your August 6 published "Letter to the Editor" regarding the conditions of the City of Brewton Animal Shelter and Adoption Center. I have recently become a volunteer at that facility and wanted to clarify a few things for your readers.
First of all, I'd like to mention that my time as a volunteer is not scheduled. I am a realtor and my time is pretty flexible, therefore, though my visits are often, they are not expected by the officers.
Like Ms. Hipps, I was also in the shelter on July 22, and while the conditions that she described were fairly accurate, there's a little more to the story. It's true that on that particular day animals were crowded in cages together, especially the cats, however, I have never seen animals without water. They don't all have food in their bowls continuously. Some obviously eat theirs as soon as they get it and others are "snackers." I know that they are all fed on a daily basis.
And as far as the crowding goes, the shelter gets to that level of occupancy about every 3-4 weeks. The reason that it does is because they don't always euthanize the animals that come there in the seven to 10 days provided by law. The officers that maintain that facility are caring, humane people and they give every animals as much time as they possibly can to be adopted by a loving family. A few days following Ms. Hipps visit, a large number of animals were euthanized. That is the true tragedy.
Ms. Hipps calls on the community to "stop, go in and see if it's a safe haven or a prison." She also asks the readers to "call or write to the shelter, mayor's office" etc., in order to make "our laws work for us and our animals." And while I certainly agree that those actions can be worthwhile, what about the immediate needs that the animals in our community have? What about the animals that are seen on the sides of busy roads thrown out by their owners because they no longer want the responsibility or have wandered away from their home because of inadequate care? What about the thousands (yes, thousands) of unwanted puppies and kittens that are born in this area every year because owners don't or can't afford to spay or neuter? What about the thousands of feral cats (the largest majority of cats that end up at the shelter are wild and could never be adopted) that are allowed to roam and reproduce in this area? The problem is a big one and a complicated one.
Yes, write your legislator and call upon your city leaders to allot the additional budget needed to make conditions better. But, in the meantime, call or stop by the shelter and ask what you can do right then, that very moment. Adopt a pet? Donate some food, chewtoys, shampoo, flea medication, money? Work a fund-raiser, write a grant to obtain money for spaying or neutering, take pictures of the pets and display on a web site or in flyers to distribute? At the very least, thank the City and the officers for doing what they can to save the ones that they do.
Anyone who is interested in doing more than criticize and write letters, please call 867-6860 and ask about the "Pets Are Joy Club."