Give pets chance at life

Published 3:05 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We all love our pets. For many of us, they’re part of the family. Yet of the nearly 7,000 pets Shelby Humane Society will take in from across the county this year, only 2,800 will be adopted into loving homes, and 4,200 will be euthanized.

But there are new initiatives that can make a difference.

Shelby Humane, in partnership with Shelby County’s Department of Environmental Services, has been selected as one of two communities in the United States by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to participate in an outreach program known as Mission: Orange.

The goal is to dramatically reduce euthanasia rates by increasing adoptions and reuniting owners with lost animals, as well as decreasing intake through spay and neuter and other efforts.

For example, Shelby Humane’s new Training and Learning Center offers low-cost basic training for dogs and a free behavior helpline for pet owners in need of assistance as an alternative to surrendering pets to the shelter.

Mission: Orange will have particular focus on providing better care for shelter cats and kittens and increasing their rate of adoption. Shelby Humane’s Quick Fix low cost spay/neuter program and vaccination and microchip clinics will focus on the communities from which the highest numbers of cats and dogs come to the shelter.

Shelby Humane will also expand its Shelter Partners program. Shelter Partners transports adoptable dogs to shelters in New England where canine overpopulation is not a problem because of spay/neuter efforts, pet licensing and laws requiring responsible pet ownership. More than 2,400 dogs have been adopted through this program.

Spread the word to your neighbors and friends about the opportunities Shelby Humane offers, and how healthy, cared for pets can provide us love and companionship — if we give them a chance at life.