Animal Shelter hopes Internet can save pets’ lives
By TOM BERRY
Murray-Calloway County Animal Shelter staff and volunteers are always looking for ways to avoid euthanizing an animal when they can’t find an owner, but now they are trying something radically different – the Internet.
Pamela Paps, an adult volunteer at the shelter when she’s not teaching elementary school art classes, said she is hoping that the shelter’s new arrangement with Petfinder.com will help save the lives of dozens of animals that pass through the shelter each month.
“This is the first time that we have been on the Petfinder program and we really have high hopes for it,” Paps said. “On Petfinder, people from around the country can plug in what type of animal they are looking for and then they can access the shelter where the animal is located.”
According to Linda Cherry, another volunteer working with Paps and Shelter manager Darla Jackson, the shelter is inundated with unwanted or stray animals and, tragically, many of them have to be put to death because homes cannot be found.
“A lot of our animals have to be euthanized because we are just so over-burdened by the sheer numbers,” Cherry said. “Sadly, a lot of them are people’s pets.”
Some animals that are brought to the shelter by individuals or captured by animal control officers don’t have homes, but many of them do. Cherry said too many times pet owners allow their pet to run loose and they wind up in captured when neighbors report them as a nuisance.
“If you have a pet and you love it, put a collar on it with an address and phone number. That way we can call and help to locate the owner,” she said.
The deployment of soldiers to Iraq has also added to the burden of caring for unwanted animals. “They often have no one here in town, such as a mother, a mother in law, or a friend to leave their dog with,” Cherry said. “They’re not from around here, they’re from all over the country, and they have no where to leave their dog. That’s very traumatic for the owner as well as for the dog.”
However, Paps pointed out that there are a lot of high-quality dogs and cats available for adoption at the shelter. “We’re getting some people from out of state that are coming in to look at our animals because we’ve got such a large number of even pure-bred dogs,” she said.
To help deal with the needs of impounded animals, Paps said they are looking for volunteers to come in occasionally for just a few minutes each day to play with an animal or take it for a walk. “That includes coming down to bathe or walk a dog. When we get them they’re put in a cage and not really able to move around much, so it would be great if they had somebody just to take them out on the grass,” Paps said. “Young people can come and play with the puppies or the kittens.
“That’s a great thing for the kids to come and do in the summer and it’s very rewarding.”
For complete story, see Friday’s Ledger & Times
Story created Jun 17, 2005 – 11:35:17 EDT.