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Humane Society purchases van

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Human Society of Chilton County has purchased a used van for animal transport thanks to a generous anonymous donation and a successful GoFundMe campaign.

The organization picked up the van on March 19, and plans are being made to add the organization’s logo to the sides and a picture of a dog named Ella.

A donor who gave the initial $15,000 donation has asked to remain anonymous. The board has referred to her as Ella’s mom, since she adopted a dog named Ella from the shelter. The GoFundMe campaign raised an additional $2,500. Donations at the shelter for $230 also went toward the vehicle.

Board President Lee Helms said the van was purchased from Enterprise in Pelham.

“That old thing that they were driving, I’m surprised they didn’t put me in jail for letting them get in it,” Helms said.

The old vehicle was a truck with a cover on the back but no back glass. An animal had gotten out of its crate and jumped out of the vehicle during transport on two separate occasions.

The van is used to transport shelter animals to veterinarian appointments, spay and neuter appointments in Irondale, adoption events and fundraisers.

The old vehicle was traded in.

Member Renee Helms recognized member Rebecca Harshman for her help in coordinating the donation and helping find the right vehicle.

Harshman said she had received a call from someone wanting to donate a van to her animal rescue organization.

“I told her, ‘we don’t need a van because we rent our vans, but Chilton County needs a van,’” Harshman said.

During the month of February, 158 animals were taken to the shelter. The majority of these were brought in by owners who for one reason or another no longer wanted or could care for the cat or dog. Forty of the animals were strays and an additional 28 were brought in by animal control.

During the same month, 20 animals were adopted, 32 were euthanized, four were returned to owners and 61 were taken to different rescue organizations.

Director Jennifer Fesmire said most of the euthanized animals were feral cats that were brought to the shelter by animal control.

“We have no outage for ferals,” Fesmire said.

The shelter no longer receives funding for a trap and release program, and keeping feral cats at the shelter is not a good option.

There were 52 dogs in the shelter and 13 cats in the shelter at the end of February.

“Our cat adoptions have been amazing,” Fesmire said. “We have three cats in our cat room at this time. They have been adopted like crazy.”

Adoptions through a partnership with PetSmart have also been successful. Each adoption is accruing credit for the shelter to be eligible for a PetSmart grant in the future.

Also during the meeting, the board unanimously approved promoting Fesmire from acting director to director.

“She’s always been good, but she has really picked it up lately — the whole team actually,” Helms said.

Members Tina Austin and Harshman commented on the good team the shelter has now.