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Citizens Want More Animals Adopted, Fewer Animals Euthanized in Carroll County

Citizens offered ideas ranging from a no-kill shelter to increased marketing to a low-cost spay and neuter program.

Three Carroll County Commissioners listened to citizen concerns and comments about the Carroll County Humane Society. (Credit: Kym Byrnes)
Three Carroll County Commissioners listened to citizen concerns and comments about the Carroll County Humane Society. (Credit: Kym Byrnes)
Three Carroll County commissioners listened to community feedback about the Carroll County Humane Society and animal control this week. After hearing almost two dozen speakers and asking questions, the commissioners agreed that it is worth exploring ways to increase the animal adoption rates in Carroll County.

Close to 50 people turned out to share their concerns and suggestions about animal control in Carroll County in a forum that included Carroll County Commissioners Richard Rothschild, Doug Howard and Haven Shoemaker. 

Laura Shenk, founder of Animal Advocates of Carroll County, said that there are things the Carroll County Humane Society can do to help improve adoption rates and lower the number of animals being euthanized. Extending hours on weekends and opening a centrally located shelter, according to Shenk, would allow more families to adopt animals in Carroll County. 

Another speaker affiliated with Animal Advocates of Carroll County said she would like to see the Humane Society strive to be a no-kill shelter. 

Edward Smith, an animal control officer for the Humane Society, said that a no kill shelter would not work in Carroll County. 

"With a no kill shelter, you'll force people to abandon animals on the road side," Smith said. "Animals will just go other places to be euthanized."

He said the employees at the Humane Society also want to see higher adoption rates and fewer animals euthanized. 

"I can tell you we all want that," Smith said.  

Linda Hagan said she was attending the meeting as a concerned citizen and animal lover. She offered ideas for improved marketing of the Humane Society and animals available for adoption there. She also said that the county should offer a low cost spay and neuter program and work to educate the public about the animal population and its consequences.

"I don't think people realize how many pets are euthanized every year," Hagan said. "To kill healthy animals to me is just immoral and it's wrong. I think we need to find a more humane way to deal with our problem, killing them isn't the answer."

An employee of the Carroll County Humane Society, Dave Ledford said that the organization does the best it can with the resources it has. 

"I agree money has a lot to do with why we're here. These are great ideas but if there's no money for those ideas, it can't be done," Ledford said.

Ledford added that more good will come of animal advocates and citizens and the shelter working together to find solutions.

"I hope that the forward thinking can be one of coming together instead of fighting about this issue," Ledford said. "I think that so many people are butting heads and it has caused so many problems at the shelter and in the community. Everyone wants the same ultimate goal in my opinion."

The Carroll County Humane Society took in 1,066 dogs and 2,232 cats between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 of this year, according to Executive Director Nicky Ratliff. 

Of the dogs taken into the shelter, 373, or 35 percent, were euthanized, according to Ratliff. That number includes 197 dogs that were euthanized at the request of the owner. 

Of the cats taken into the the shelter, 1,406, or 63 percent, were euthanized. 260 of the cats euthanized were done so at the request of the owner, Ratliff said.

Ratliff was not present at the meeting but previously told Patch that the shelter is doing the best it can with the resources it has. She said that she simply doesn't have the space or resources to house, feed and provide medical care for all the animals that come to the shelter. 

Carroll County contracts with the Humane Society to provide animal control services to county citizens. The county has budgeted $883,370 for animal control services in fiscal year 2014.

Commissioner Richard Rothschild said he liked the recommendation from several people to create a committee to think creatively about increasing the number of local animal adoptions.

Commissioner Doug Howard said he thinks it is worth exploring a low cost spay/neuter program at the Humane Society to help address the feral cat issue in the county.  

The commissioners agreed they would take up the discussion in open session with the full board of commissioners at a later date. 
missy emig December 11, 2013 at 01:35 PM
I find it HARD to believe that many people ASK to have their pets killed!!! I would like to see the humane society become a no kill shelter.
Kym Byrnes (Editor) December 11, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Hi Missy. Let me clarify that a bit -- the statistic for the owners requesting to have their animals euthanized refers to pet owners who want to get their sick pet euthanized but cannot afford to do it at a vets office. It's not a standard service they provide, but according to an animal control officer, if people have economic hardship, the Humane Society won't turn them away.
missy emig December 11, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Well thank you for clarifying that!! That greatly disturbed me.
Josie December 11, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Education is greatly needed here in CC. Many farmers deal with overpopulation in their own ways. This is not a rumor but a horrible fact. We need to make a spay/neuter program that would maybe have mobile vets. This would help shut-ins as well as farmers. Money could be collected in several ways. The schools should get involved. Educate the kids young and have fund raisers. Everyone should know the benefits animals are to us and how to treat them.
Judith M. Smith December 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Josie...good thoughts... I just wish that the Humane Society would have hours where "normal" people would be able to go and see the adoptables, etc. The hours are too rigid -- they aren't open very much on the weekend, or during the evening...when perhaps more people could get there. Also..a personal issue--neighbors' barking dogs....PLEASE put some meaningful teeth into that portion of whatever enforcement you may have...right now the problem is almost totally on the complainent despite reporting to the Society, as well as the police.

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