Last updated: June 01. 2013 12:23AM - 219 Views
Allen Worrell

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With October being ASPCA’s Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, the Twin County Animal Shelter continues to improve ways to find homes for animals and to lower its euthanization rates.

Over the last year, the Twin County Animal Shelter has started working with the Wythe County Humane Society and the Twin County Humane Society, transferring many adoptable animals to them that are then placed within the community or other support and rescue groups. Those partnerships have helped the Twin County Animal Shelter cut its euthanization rate almost in half.

“Working with them we are seeing lower euthanizations rates. We used to have numbers upwards of 85 to 95 percent at times for dogs,” said Galax City Manager Keith Barker. “In August (our euthanization rate) was 53 percent, in July it was 53 percent and in September it was 45 percent. It has been a tremendous change up there.”

Barker said the animal shelter has also waived adoption fees for the two humane societies. Every dog that is brought into the animal shelter also receives vaccinations for both distemper and parvovirus upon intake to try to prevent future issues. Money has also been budgeted to have better separation between kennels for disease control, Barker said.

“The biggest thing we have done is starting to work with the agencies to transfer animals to them. Our staff is working hand-in-hand with them and letting them know when they think we have some adoptable animals,” Barker said. “We are also obligated under state law to hold animals for a minimum of five days without a collar and 10 days with a collar. We are trying to lengthen that as much as we can, holding them for longer periods of time to try to promote the adoption of animals and trying to improve our euthanization rate.”

Additionally, the City of Galax will pay up to 50 percent of the spay or neuter fee to any Galax citizen that adopts a cat or dog, up to $50. Similarly, the Town of Hillsville is offering a PetSmart grant in 2012 that allows up to 500 Hillsville residents to have their cats and dogs spayed or neutered for free.

The Twin County Animal Shelter is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 1-5 p.m., where animals can be viewed. A posting for each animal explains whether or not they are adoptable.

“We do have to hold some for a certain time. It will have a date posted at each kennel letting people know when they can be adopted and if they are available now,” Barker said. “It’s very easy. There is a $15 adoption fee and they are mandated by law to have the animal spayed or neutered so we don’t repeat the overpopulation issue. We are trying to make it as affordable as we can and improve the outcome for these animals.”

Animals available for adoption can also be viewed at www.twincountyhumanesociety.org or on the Twin County Humane Society’s facebook page.

“That group does a tremendous job. We transferred 15 dogs to them in July, 20 in August and 34 in September,” Barker said. “And I would just encourage people to be responsible pet owners. It can become an overwhelming process, but honestly if people would spay and neuter their pets we would really see the numbers trickle down a whole lot more.”

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