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Spay/neuter your pets

It’s not uncommon to think of facilities like humane societies as “a necessary evil.” Certainly, in a perfect world, there would be no unwanted animals and we could all live worry-free knowing that no animal would ever be euthanized.

But the reality is hard to ignore. It’s safe to say that every week in Chilton County, an unwanted kitten or puppy is dumped on the side of the road because there is no place for it.

When the overpopulation problem begins to overwhelm a community, the option of adopting from a humane society can become unattractive. If conditions are so that disease is spread easily, people begin to equate shelters with images of sickly dogs and cats. When animals are adopted without any way of ensuring that they will be spayed or neutered, this only adds to the problem.

In his nearly 14 months with the Chilton County Humane Society, Joe Murphy has tried to change that image. While we have no doubt that past directors have been every bit as passionate about caring for animals as he has, the past year’s statistics show that things are beginning to improve at the shelter.

Intake numbers have decreased by more than 150 from June 2009 to June 2010. Meanwhile, monthly adoptions have increased in that time. People are coming to Chilton County from other counties to adopt, and many animals are being sent to out-of-state rescue facilities and humane societies where there is a greater demand for them.

If the animals are getting good homes, who really cares where they are going? Of course, we still hope that more local people will start adopting.

Knowing that all dogs taken to the shelter are vaccinated on arrival is a comforting thought. Also, the policy that no animal is allowed to leave unaltered seems to be going over well, where before there was really no way to enforce this.

But the most important thing continues to be community education. We would all do well to remember the words of Bob Barker, now being echoed by his successor: “Have your pets spayed or neutered.”