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40 kittens find homes in June

This is one of the kittens left behind after a free adoption month in July.

By Brian Tynes | The Selma Times-Journal

SELMA — Janay Cleveland opens a kennel door and the 7-week-old kitten inside is so eager to get out Lashawdo Culter has to catch it before it falls to the floor.

The female domestic kitten is one of a handful of cats not selected during the Central Alabama Animal Shelter’s cat and kitten giveaway in June.

However, 40 others found a home.

“We were busting at the seams trying to find something to put them in,” Sherry Marter, a CAAS board member said. “We had to get extra cages. We just had kittens galore.”

Marter said the giveaway, which lasted for about three weeks, was out of necessity because the shelter at the corner of Bell Road and Medical Center Parkway had been operating beyond its capacity.

“It was pure overpopulation of cats and kittens,” Marter said. “This is the first time we’ve done a free month. We always take in more than are going out.”

Now that the giveaway is over, cats have returned to $50 for adoption, which is $10 less than adopting a dog.

The shelter does not administer a rabies vaccine, but other vaccines, including being de-wormed, are included with the adoption fee. The shelter also partners with four veterinary clinics — Selma Animal Hospital, Northside Animal Hospital, Valley Creek Veterinary Hospital and Marion Veterinary Clinic — to provide a free wellness check after adoption and offer a reduced price on having the animal spayed or neutered.

Melanie Chiles, veterinary assistant at Northside Animal Hospital, said the free check-up includes a complete physical exam of eyes, ears, teeth and a fecal check.

“We also de-worm them if necessary and give a distemper shot,” Chiles said. “For dogs over a year old, or if you aren’t sure of the age, we’ll do a heartworm test.”

Chiles said cats will also get tested for leukemia and feline immune deficiency, better known as FID.

Chiles said the cost for spaying and neutering an adopted animal is either $35 or $55 depending on whether is a dog or cat, which is less than half the cost if the animal is not adopted.

Doug Halbrooks, veterinarian at Marion Veterinary Clinic, said the Marion clinic also has its own shelter containing 14 dogs and 16 cats, an illustration of a region-wide overpopulation problem Halbrooks said is becoming critical.

“All of west central Alabama is particularly blessed with the problem of unwanted or orphaned animals,” Halbrooks said. “It’s severe.”

Marter said the shelter receives new animals every day but only sees about 15 adoptions a month.

May saw just 11 total adoptions while April saw 27. In each month, only four cats were adopted.

George Wood, veterinarian at Selma Animal Hospital, said a law requiring an adopted pet be spayed or neutered may have an impact on the number of animals adopted.

“Part of the problem is the economy in our area,” Wood said. “We agreed to spay or castrate animals for $55, which is right at half price. We do that to help cut the animal population and to keep from having to put so many dogs to sleep. The problem is a lot better now than it was 40 years ago because so many dogs have been spayed or castrated.”

Marter said the shelter does not have currently have plans for another adoption special.

Cleveland returns the kitten to its kennel despite its meows of protest.

The girls then walk to a pen containing a litter of 10-week-old Labrador retriever mix puppies — some black, some brown — each more eager than the next to be picked up.