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Shelter continuing no-kill for space streak

Six months and six days. Photo by Brandon Hicks
That is how long it has been since the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter has had to euthanize a healthy cat or dog because of a lack of space at the shelter.
“It is amazing,” said ECCAS Director April Jones. “It is almost unheard of for a shelter to be able to go no-kill for this long.”
The last day the shelter had to euthanize a cat or a dog because of space constraints was on Dec. 18. Jones noted that the shelter has had to euthanize sick, feral and aggressive cats and dogs that have been brought to the shelter.
Jones said it was a combination of factors that came together to help the shelter continue the more than six-month streak of being no-kill for space.
The new shelter has more space in the cat room to house more cats while they wait for adoption. This means the cats can have a longer stay at the shelter while waiting on their forever home.
Also, the shelter has partnered with Petsense to offer kittens and adult cats that have been spayed or neutered through the store.
“This has allowed us to have more cats adopted,” Jones said. “Because there is more space for them they have more of an opportunity to find a new home.”
For the dogs, while the new shelter does not have more kennel space for dogs, it does offer more floor and hall space which provides more opportunities for housing smaller dogs.
Jones said community members had donated large crates which are placed in the dog kennel rooms offering spaces for smaller dogs. This also opens up the kennels for larger dogs that cannot comfortably stay in the crates.
While this offers a solution for housing the dogs, it presents another problem for the dogs when it is time for them to take a potty break.
“We need volunteers to take the dogs on walks, especially those in a crate,” Jones said. “We have one volunteer right now who takes the dogs on walks multiple times a day. We could use more volunteers.”
In addition to the extra space made by using crates, the shelter has seen more adoptions than in the past.
Jones said more pets have been returned to their owners, and that more people were visiting the shelter looking for their missing pets. Also, more pets are coming in that have been microchipped or have ID tags.
“Identification is so important,” Jones said. “When we get an older pet in, and it is obvious that it is someone’s pet but there is no identification, that is heartbreaking. So many more lost dogs and cats could go home if they just had ID.”
The shelter is also making more use of social media opportunities by sharing available pets on Facebook. Shelter volunteers take pictures of the pets and post them to the site, and to other websites as well.
For more information, call the shelter at 547-6359.