Council discusses animal shelter options

Published 7:35 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Selma Animal Shelter has been a hot topic of discussion in recent months in the Selma City Council meetings. The shelter was reported to be at full capacity in December and is still being run under the Selma Police Department, a structure Ward 2 councilwoman Susan Keith says the shelter has since outgrown.

Because the Selma Animal Shelter operates under the Central Alabama Animal Shelter board, Keith said there is an inference that the shelter can be utilized by everyone in the region, however the city of Selma and Dallas County are the only municipalities contributing funds to the shelter.

“We don’t get any funds from anywhere except what limited funding we get with the police department in the city of Selma and what we get from the county,” Keith said in last week’s meeting. “Its just a matter of economics — we just cannot continue taking in animals from other parts of the state until we work out how to get some funding from other areas.”

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Keith brought forth four recommendations to the council from her shelter committee and three were voted on and approved.

She recommended the shelter start to check the licenses and other I.D. forms of people who drop off animals. If they are not within Selma or Dallas County, they cannot leave the animal behind.

Secondly she recommended that volunteers be approved as adoption facilitators at the shelter, allowing for longer hours of operation and thus encouraging more adoptions.

“That means that it won’t require our people to work any more with over time,” she said. “But it would mean that Central Alabama Animal Shelter board members, who have stressed in strong numbers that they would volunteer as adoption facilitators, that they could have access to the building and the animals so people could come and adopt and thus lessen the number of euthanizations.”

She also asked that other surrounding counties begin to contribute funds if they would like their residents to utilize the shelter in Selma.

The council voted on and approved all three recommendations.

Keith also had one more recommendation to bring to the board, but said she was not ready to vote on it, but she wanted the council to begin looking deeper into the topic, which was to transfer the shelter’s structure from being run by the Selma Police Chief’s office and to be run by its very own department.

“Currently the section 5-17 establishes that the shelter comes under the offices of chief of police,” Keith said. “The shelter and its mission have grown, and it has probably outgrown the scope of what its able to do.”