HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country have been operating in crisis mode for months due to a surge in the homeless pet population.
Huntsville Animal Services is no exception.
The good news is that there is a simple path toward a solution – adopting, spaying, and neutering these homeless pets.
"We've just been full, full, full every day all summer with dogs and cats," said Huntsville Animal Services Director, Dr. Karen Sheppard.
In the past, the shelter used to take in 7 to 10 animals a day, but lately, it's common for them to take in 25 or more on a single day. A few weeks ago, we took in 34 in just one day.
"I think we have right around 40 cats and about 70 dogs," said Sheppard.
By adopting a homeless pet, not only are you adding another member to the family, you're also making room for the next homeless animal that comes along.
"Adoption is what saves their lives. When you come and visit and spend time with one of our pets and find love and decide to make it a part of your family, that's how we make room for the next pet that will be coming in the door," said Sheppard.
If you're not in a place to adopt right now, the one sure fire thing you can do to prevent shelters from becoming overwhelmed is spaying and neutering your pets.
"One thing is, if you find a cat or a dog and you decide to keep it, don't let it have babies, get it spayed or neutered because even one more litter, it ends up affecting us. Because people are going to have to adopt your puppies or your kittens instead of coming here and getting a spayed and neutered pet, so there are so many ways you can help even if you can't adopt," said Sheppard.
If getting a pet fixed is cost-prohibitive, there are several ways to get a lower-cost, income-based spay/neuter procedure. Huntsville pet owners who are on state or federal subsidized assistance or have an adjusted gross annual income of $35,000 or less qualify for the Fixin’ Alabama Spay/Neuter Program.
Qualifying pet owners can go to Huntsville Animal Services at 4950 Triana Blvd. SW, show proof of eligibility (e.g., Medicaid, Disability, EBT, WIC, tax documents) and get a voucher. They can then contact a participating veterinary office to schedule the spay/neuter surgery and remit the voucher. The pet owner will also receive a free lifetime license for the newly spayed/neutered pet.
Additionally, Spay/Neuter Action Project (SNAP) assists with low-cost spay/neuter procedures for eligible pet owners in Madison County.
Anyone interested in adopting a spayed or neutered animal should visit Huntsville Animal Services. Adoptable pets are also vaccinated, microchipped and come with a City license and free bag of pet food. Those unable to adopt are asked to consider fostering an animal through the shelter’s foster program.
Click here to see photos, ages and descriptions of available animals.
The shelter is located at 4950 Triana Blvd SW and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.