Animal shelter conflicts discussed

Published 1:07am Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Selma City Council committee, led by Ward 2 representative Susan Keith, discussed the state of the Central Alabama Animal Shelter with the members of the Central Alabama Animal Shelter Board Monday to address changes that need to be made.

“We have had some very, very bad problems out at the animal shelter,” Keith said. “Some of them have been cured and some of them I believe are on their way to being cured. We have to; there are no two ways about it.”

The issue of euthanasia — and who funds it — was central to the discussion.

“[The board] provided for a long time the euthanasia, and because of the way the shelter has always operated — dogs were being euthanized essentially for space,” Keith said. “That sounds cruel, that sounds cold, that sounds awful, but that is done a lot. You can’t just keep warehousing dogs when you have a limited budget.”

Kay Alsobrook, the shelter board’s vice president explained, “Euthanasia is not really the mission of the animal shelter board. What we do is provide food; we provide the cleaning supplies, the washing machines, dryers and vaccinations.”

The shelter board is transitioning away from funding euthanasia as it is contradictory to their mission, and the city will soon take that responsibility.

“We need to find the money to pay for euthanasia. The city’s got to take responsibility for that,” Keith said.

Those fees are estimated at about $500 a month.

“By law we only have to keep animals for seven days and they can just be euthanized for space or whatever. That’s pretty sad and pretty barbaric — the thought of just keeping a dog seven days,” Keith said. “We’re looking for ways to generate more funds. I’m committed to rectifying those physical things that are causing the physical problems that are making animals sick. I have some bond money left that I can do a lot with out there. It won’t totally cure the problem, but it will go a long way. “

Central Alabama Animal Shelter Board President Sarah Youngblood said they receive figures from the shelter on adoption and euthanasia — figures that are “overwhelming.”

“We kind of don’t want to state the figures, because I don’t think the public needs to know.” Youngblood said. “It’s something you don’t want to see.”

Keith said she plans to bring several recommendations before the city council Tuesday.

“The thing is we’ve got to have a resolution on operations and how we’re going to handle it,” Keith said.

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