Animal House

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2006

Central Alabama Shelter seeks help

By Tammy Leytham

The Selma Times-Journal

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It’s the season for giving, and the Central Alabama Animal Shelter is looking to get a little help from Santa.

The shelter is a partnership between the city of Selma and the non-profit Central Alabama Animal Shelter board of directors.

While the city provides the facility, employees and utilities, the board is “more involved with the animals directly,” said Angie Soul, president of the board.

“It’s a good partnership,” Soul said.

“All of this comes under the jurisdiction of the police department and Chief (Jimmy) Martin and the mayor have been very good to the shelter.”

Finding a home for animals

The facility was renovated in 2003 when it became the animal shelter. The shelter’s two animal control officers work under the auspices of the city, and Dallas County has an animal control officer as well. In addition, the county also participates financially.

But, it’s the day-to-day care of the animals, along with the adoption program, that comes under the responsibility of the non-profit board of directors.

In 2005, the shelter adopted 78 dogs and 43 cats. They took in a total of 2,221 dogs and 771 cats.

So far in 2006, 127 dogs have been adopted, and 59 cats have found homes. This year, the shelter has taken in 878 dogs and 501 cats.

“The goal is to find homes for all the animals,” Soul said. “The more support we get, the better that’s going to be.”

There is a 10-day waiting period in which the shelter must keep dogs or cats. But, the shelter generally goes well beyond that time period in trying to find homes for animals.

“We don’t give up on them unless we absolutely have to,” said Missy Prather, director of operations for the shelter.

The city does have a leash law, and pet owners are encouraged to adhere to that. In addition, board members encourage those who have unwanted pets to drop them off at the shelter, as opposed to dropping them in an isolated place. “At the shelter they have a chance,” Prather said. “For strays, life expectancy is just not good.”

The Needs

It takes about $200 a week to provide for the care of the animals, Prather said.

The needs include household items such as laundry detergent, bleach and water hoses, as well as bigger

needs such as kennels and a computer.

“If we had more money, we could do more,” Soul said.

One of the things the board would like to do is to have a Web site with pictures of the animals that are available for adoption. That’s why they need a computer.

They also participate in rescuing animals, going out at all hours of the day and night to pick up strays, so a donation of a horse trailer would be welcome.

And, the board would like to have some fencing set up to provide a larger play area for the dogs.

“If someone would be able to donate fencing, that’d be great,” Soul said.

There is also a need for towels, washcloths, bedding and blankets, particularly with colder weather coming.

In addition, they are currently working on beautification of the building, and would like to add an adoption room to the facility.

How to Help

Currently, there are approximately 20 to 30 members of the board of directors, which meets on a monthly basis and has periodic meetings with the shelter employees.

“We want to thank our volunteers. We have people who donate all the time,” Soul said.

Prather agreed that the current board members “have been very helpful,” as has the city of Selma.

But, there is a need for more board members “who are passionate about animals,” Soul said.

For those who want to make donations, Prather said the sign in front of the animal shelter lets volunteers know what the needs are.

The Central Alabama Animal Shelter board of directors is holding a yard sale from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday at the shelter, located at 206 Medical Center Parkway.

They will have clothes, baby items, Christmas items, books, household items and more. If you have items you’d like to donate to the sale, drop them off at the shelter Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

All proceeds go to the animals.

In addition, anyone interested in finding out more about how they can help can call 877-2204.

The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.