Stronger pet laws needed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thanks to a new Shelter Partner Program, dogs taken in by the Shelby County Humane Society are getting a second chance at life.

While we applaud the Shelby County Humane Society and its volunteers for this effort, we believe Alabama needs stronger laws regarding the registration and licensing of pets and better spay and neuter programs.

Because of weak laws in Alabama, the Shelby County Humane Society takes in about 8,000 animals annually. Of those, about 2,800 are adopted. The math reflects a heartbreaking reality for any animal lover.

The new Shelter Partner Program, launched last November, transports dogs from Shelby County to humane societies in New Hampshire. Some 413 dogs have already been adopted out of state.

Each trip costs about $700 and saves the lives of 20 to 30 dogs, according to the Shelby County Humane Society. And the trips are all funded entirely by donations.

Why take the animals to New Hampshire, and what can we learn from that state?

According to a Shelby County Humane Society official, New Hampshire has state law that makes it mandatory to register and license pets. The result is the virtual elimination of stray animals available for adoption. They also have state-funded, low-cost spay and neuter programs.

While we think it is great that the Shelby County Humane Society has found a way to save the lives of animals that might otherwise not be adopted, we feel it is a shame that our own state can&8217;t reduce the suffering of unwanted animals by passing stronger laws that would help eliminate the stray pet population.

According to the Shelby County Humane Society, the companion animal population is so overwhelming in Shelby County that there are not enough homes to place homeless cats and dogs in loving families.

As a result of shelter crowding, more than half of the animals received by Shelby Humane Society are euthanized.

Also, in Alabama, the cost of spaying and neutering depends upon the veterinarian. But low cost certificates are available.

Contact the Shelby County Humane Society at 669-3916 for more information.