New animal shelter programs aim to increase volunteers, adoptions
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Sep 15, 2013 | 3023 views |  0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Melissa Davis holds a dog awaiting adoption at the Calhoun County Animal Control Center Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star
Melissa Davis holds a dog awaiting adoption at the Calhoun County Animal Control Center Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star
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A little volunteer work can land Calhoun County residents a new furry friend.

Through November, residents who want to adopt a pet from the Calhoun County Animal Control Center can volunteer eight hours at the county shelter on Morrisville Road and the $25 adoption fee will be waived. Additionally, Calhoun County Animal Control will pay $50 of the adopted pet’s veterinarian bill to get it spayed or neutered.

“We’re just trying to find ways to get more pets adopted and people helping out,” said Shannon Shanks, the center’s director. “This was just something the advisory board came up with, and we thought it was a great idea.”

Janet Odom, chairwoman of the Calhoun County Animal Control Board, said the three-month program is something of an experiment but, if all goes well, she is open to making the volunteer-for-waived-adoption-fee a permanent policy.

“I’m not expecting a lot of volunteers,” said Odom, who noted the program is limited to five volunteers a month. “But if we get five, that would be great. We need all the help we can get.”

Odom said she’s expecting a bigger increase in adoptions next month when adoption fees are waived to coincide with Calhoun County’s free dump day at the county landfill, also on Morrisville Road, on Oct. 19.

“They have to drive right by the shelter to get to the dump,” she said. “We want to have an open house, have some animals at the bottom of the hill and welcome people in.”

Residents stopping by on Oct. 19 can file to adopt a pet and, if approved, will also have the $25 adoption fee waived. Odom said all applicants will have to answer questions and get assurance from the adopter’s veterinarian that the pet will be spayed or neutered. This last check, Odom said, is crucial to curbing the county’s overpopulation of unwanted pets, a problem that is not aided when pets that are adopted are not spayed or neutered.

“It’s not fixing the problem,” Odom said. “That’s why we check.”

Like the volunteer program, Odom said if the free adoption day goes well she’d like to host the day four times a year to coincide with each of the county’s free dump days.

The Animal Control Board is a relatively new entity in the county. The Calhoun County Commission set up the board in November of 2012 in response to criticism about the treatment of shelter animals.

“We decided the best thing to do was to set this up and appoint some of the people making the complaints to address the problem,” said Calhoun County Administrator Ken Joiner. “We’re pleased with the way things are going.”

Shanks, who was appointed director of the center in March, said the shelter is always looking for qualified volunteers to help take care of the animals, especially those interested in walking dogs.

Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star. HOW TO HELP

Interested in volunteering? Stop by the Calhoun County Animal Control Center at 3605 Morrisville Road or call 256-231-0854.

Eight hours qualifies volunteers to a waived $25 adoption fee and $50 off the adopted pet’s spay/neuter bill.
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New animal shelter programs aim to increase volunteers, adoptions by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com

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