No-kill shelter a commendable goal

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A drive down most any street in Shelby County, rural or urban, many times will result in the same question: Why are there so many dogs and cats running loose?

Is it that people in Shelby County simply dislike animals or the county or individual cities are not doing enough to round up strays? Was there, perhaps, a Johnny Appleseed of sorts many years ago who traversed through our county, leaving animals along the way? I doubt any of these explanations hit the mark.

The most plausible explanation for pet overcrowding and strays in such an affluent community is the absence of leash laws, or perhaps better stated, the absence of clear understanding and enforcement of existing leash laws.

Pets left to wander will no doubt get into mischief and produce offspring. It is those offspring that we see in our neighborhoods and that fill the Shelby County Humane Society beyond capacity.

Thankfully, the Shelby County Humane Society and the county’s Environmental Services Department are working to address our pet overcrowding troubles. Last week, our community was selected as one of two communities in the country by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for its Mission: Orange program, which aims to reduce the number of animals put to sleep in shelters.

Some 60 percent of the dogs and cats that make their way to the shelter are euthanized. This isn’t because of a lack of care or concern on the part of employees and volunteers at the shelter, but is due to a lack of space for the ever-increasing population of strays in our community.

The folks from the Shelby County Humane Society and Environmental Services should be congratulated for being selected by the ASPCA for such a progressive effort. Here’s wishing them great success.