A Tour of the Animal Shelter

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The Times-Journal

As visitors enter the front door of the Selma/Dallas County Animal Shelter, they are greeted by a cacophony of barks, howls, hisses and me-ow-ows, as well as a friendly “Hello” from Interim Director Warren Hinson, behind the counter at one side of the comfortable waiting room.

On Monday, Sandra Sullivan of the Chilton County Human Society and Selma Police Officer Christopher Harris were getting a preview of the excellent new facility.

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Animal Control officers, the Rev. Larry Purifoy and Mario Marzette, were in and out of the room as they went about their daily duties with their animal charges.

And June Carter, board member of the Humane Society and the Central Alabama Animal Shelter was busily toweling dry the small dogs, who had just undergone a cleansing sprinkle.

Also present Monday was Selma Police Chief Jimmie Martin, who shares purview of the Shelter with Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman. (Jenny Agee, county control officer, was on a call out in the county.)

Visiting each room, making friends with Dotty, a brown Labrador, and smiling at everything he saw, Martin said “I am aware and appreciative of the hard work of the animal control officers of the city and county. We are fortunate to have such dedicated, caring people.” (He also had his eye on a lively puppy with a curly tail and a smiling face, playing in the dog run.)

As usual the Animal Shelter was filled with cats, dogs, puppies and kittens, and full of life as attendants went about their daily duties: Cleaning cages, feeding their charges, walking them in daily exercise routine and, later, sending them outside to play in the fenced run at the rear of the building. Puppies go first, then the larger dogs.

Through the 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday open hours of the shelter, visitors are almost constant. Some bring blankets, newspapers, animal food, toys, while other give of their time, coming in to play with the dogs and cats, who are well cared-for but eager for extra affection and attention.

Students frequently earn community service hours by caring for the shelter occupants.

Often the visitors are people looking for a pet to adopt, sometimes asking for an adult animal that has been brought to the shelter by their owner, who can no longer care for it.

The shelter receives information about these to assist in later adoption.

Kittens and puppies must be at least eight weeks before adoption.

The animals left in the drop-off box outside the shelter must have a health assessment done and a “Surrendered Animal Record” filled out. The cost of adopting an animal is $45 for cats and kittens and $55 for dogs and puppies.

Each adoptive pet is delivered to a veterinarian of the adopter’s choice for spaying, neutering and rabies shots.

Only money orders and cashiers checks are accepted as payment at the shelter.

Hinson says adoptions are “up, way up, and the reasons vary.

This clean, efficiently operated, temporary home for pets attracts people.

Parents bring their children on a regular basis and we welcome them.

They are greeted by a chorus of hellos from puppies and dogs and friendly meows from beautiful cats and kittens, who stretch furry paws through their cage dogs to say “Hello, take me home with you.”

Donations of items used for the betterment of the shelter are needed daily.

Remember to bring newspapers, old blankets, towels, animal food and caring.