Shelter deserves support, pets deserve home

Published 9:25 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

Running an animal shelter is a hard, professional task. Dogs and cats can’t just be left unchecked in kennels that are then allowed to degrade.  Standards, for their health – and also for human health – must be met and maintained.

This week the Budget Committee of the Carter County Commission, at the request of County Mayor Leon Humphrey, approved a line item transfer of funds in the mayor’s budget to allow for the hiring of a custodian at the Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter.

Currently, the director at the local animal shelter and her two fulll-time employees have the task of daily cleaning the cages and kennels of animal waste and washing them down. In addition to the cleaning duties, they feed the animals, wait on customers, as well as work animal control requests. At times, there are just not enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done, such as mowing the grounds, taking the dogs for a walk, or bathing the animals.

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The animal control staff is doing its best with limited resources. The prime mission for employees at the animal shelter is the quality of life for the animals housed there.

Animal shelters are both inspiring and heartbreaking. They bring on good feelings simply because the people who run the shelters care enough about the animals to provide them a home until they are adopted. The dogs, cats and other animals receive food, water and shelter to keep them out of the often harsh elements.

However, they also evoke sad emotions, considering some animals were taken in as strays or given up by owners who could no longer – for whatever reason – take care of their pets. Who can look in the eyes of a forlorn homeless dog, for example, and not want to reach out and help it?

Problems will continue to arise at the shelter as long as the resources of the county and city are limited – and as long as people fail to be responsible and spay and neuter their pets. Not doing so creates so many more problems down the line.

Of course, adopting a fine, loving pet from the shelter would help, too

Shelters have lovable dogs and cats of all shapes, sizes and ages. Your chances of finding a wonderful companion who matches your lifestyle and family are excellent! About 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebred. The rest make up the best selection anywhere of unique, one-of-a-kind mixed breeds, many of whom have already lived with families and have the basic social skills they need to become an enjoyable part of your household.

Many dogs end up in shelters because of circumstances beyond their control. They were victims of a death in the family, illness, divorce or a move that didn’t include them. Some were displaced by a new baby. Others had pet parents who didn’t learn how to train them. And there are those who were left at a shelter because of a behavior problem that their pet parents didn’t try to fix or weren’t able to resolve.

But make no mistake—a “second-hand” dog or cat  is in no way second-rate. Most shelter dogs and cats available for adoption are healthy, affectionate animals who are simply looking for their own family to love.

The local animal shelter deserves people’s support – and hopefully, donations – so it can keep providing homeless animals with good temporary homes until they can find their “forever homes.”

If you can donate an hour of two of your time each day or week to help with the cleaning duties or to take care of the animals, we are sure there is a place to volunteer at the local animal shelter. And, it will be time and service that will be both rewarding and appreciated.

And, we are sure the current employees at the shelter will appreciate the helping hands approved by the Budget Committee Monday evening