HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (3/15/13) – The Hopkins Co. Humane Society (HCHS) is not only getting a new building structure to move into this spring, they’re also implementing new programs for the shelter in order to shrink the 68% euthanasia rate the shelter has been holding for the past four years flat. SurfKY News spoke with HCHS President Jack Merrill, who was elected at last month’s officer elections, about the progression HCHS is heading toward. Merrill is also the Director of Support Services for Baptist Health.
The HCHS board met this past Tuesday, March 12, for a special two hour presentation given by manager Charles Gentry and animal welfare chairman Duane Snyder, voting on program changes for the shelter that were adopted from the Marshall Co. Humane Society, that have taken the Marshall County Humane Society euthanasia rate down to a mere 13% last year. “They were in as bad a shape as we have been,” claimed Merrill.
The vote at Tuesday’s meeting resulted in a unanimous decision across the board to get these new programs underway, and the changes went into effect at HCHS immediately the following day.
“The new system is geared toward today’s economy,” continued Merrill. “It will be more cost-effective and less complicated in paperwork. The sign-in procedures are changing. As it stood, anyone could bring any pet to drop at any time of day or night. That will be changing. Now in order to drop an animal, you will be required to do it during business hours, paying a $20 drop fee, which will be directed toward the mandatory de-worming, shots, and micro-chip, which will be placed in all of the animals as part of the “Pet Point Tracking” system. If an animal gets lost or stolen or has been neglected, we will have the information on file of the owner and the pet so that there is more accountability. There will also be less paperwork involved in adoption, and the whole adoption process is being simplified. Instead of costing $100 to adopt an animal from the shelter, as it has in the past, it will also only cost $20, which will be credited toward caring for other pets that are ill or need more care than the healthy ones. Adoptive owners will be required to sign a contract now stating that they will care for the pets as is expected, taking them to the veterinary clinic and follow all other necessary means. The goal is to get more pets adopted out of the shelter than what are staying there, making the shelter their home, which in time, causes illness and eventually euthanasia because with that many animals in the same shelter, many sick and unhealthy when they come in, it’s impossible to keep the sickness from spreading. The shelter sees 200-300 animals a month come in, and many stay there or in foster homes without ever being adopted. We want to serve as an animal coordination center, not a permanent hospital for the animals.”
As part of the new system, HCHS will now be working with special interest groups and organizations that adopt specific breeds and types of animals for specific purposes, communicating back and forth about whether or not the shelter has whatever animal the group is looking for. They will also be actively participating in keeping their social networks alive and posted in order to keep the community informed of what animals are coming in and what events are taking place. “We’re making the shelter more customer friendly,” Merrill added. “We want to develop good community partnerships and feel this will enable us to do so. We’re all very excited and pushing really hard to turn this around. We want to have all of the operations in place before moving into the brand new facility, which we have tentatively decided will be no later than July 1, but definitely, hopefully before then.”
It was also decided at the Tuesday, March 12 meeting that HCHS and local Walmart will be partnering in efforts to aid in the new system. Madisonville Walmart store manager, Sandy Brooks, attended the meeting, presenting the role Walmart will play, donating space, advertising, and products for an annual “Adopt-A-Thon” along with being a primary provider in pet food and cat litter to HCHS. The packages of pet food and litter that are torn or open cannot be sold and otherwise usually get thrown away. From now on those products will be picked up from Walmart weekly by HCHS staff or volunteers.
“This is one of the most ambitious and bold moves HCHS has taken in years. We’re raising the bar for ourselves in order to satisfy the community,” concluded Merrill, proudly upholding his HCHS presidential position.
The community can keep up with updates and plans for HCHS online or by attending their regular meetings, which are open to the public every second Tuesday of the month, starting at 6 p.m. HCHS will keep the community informed on the often varying locations of their meetings via Facebook or the HCHS website . You can reach HCHS by telephone at (270) 821-8965.
Find them on Facebook by logging in here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Hopkins-County-Humane-Society/133514756813598?fref=ts or link directly to HCHS homepage here: http://www.hopkinscountyhumanesociety.org/.
HCHS is currently located at 319 Dulin St. while its new building is under construction beside the Hopkins Co. Detention Center on Laffoon Trail. SurfKY News posted details on the move on Tuesday, Mar. 12. Click here to view that article: http://surfky.com/index.php/component/content/article/55-local-hopkins-top-news/28057-hopkins-county-humane-society-move-scheduled-for-spring-).
Photo provided by Jessica Frodge
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