Alabama 5th-worst at saving animal shelter pets, says non-profit

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. — Each year the non-profit Best Friends Animal Society records progress for how shelters are reducing the rates of putting down pets that can’t find a home.

The most recent data says Alabama is the nation’s fifth-worst and suggests that north Alabama counties’ pet authorities have work to do.

“We’re five and ten years behind the rest of the states in America,” BFAS Alabama Strategist Lisa Barrett says.

The group aims to get private and public animal shelters on board with becoming no-kill by 2025.

“No-kill doesn’t mean that they don’t kill anything at all,” Barrett says. “It just means that they save all the savable ones.”

This interactive map shows which local counties meet or are near the 90 percent threshold to qualify as no-kill.

Lauderdale and Marshall are already at the goal; others such as Madison County are almost there, while Barrett says some like Franklin county have a dismally small rate of saving pets it brings in (under 2%) and has fallen behind on reporting their numbers as well.

Franklin County Commission, which has authority over the county’s animal control, did not return News 19’s request for comment.

However, according to Athens-Limestone County Animal Shelter director Priscilla Blenkinsopp, even though the shelter has improved its save rate to at least 75 percent in recent years, the effort to save healthy animals has proven easier said than done.

“Our ultimate goal anytime is to save them all, but you know it’s hard to do that with so many feral cats and colonies that people have, and so many hoarding situations with so many animals,” Blenkinsopp says.

The easiest solution to preventing the overcrowding that worsens adoption rates?

“The biggest thing would be spaying and neutering your pets,” Barrett says. “If you’re spaying and neutering then you’re not contributing to the overpopulation. They’re also not contributing to the diseases that can be rampant in the South.”

“Just ask for help before it gets out of hand before you have three mom cats with kittens and three mom dogs with puppies that have 10 and 12 puppies,” Blenkinsopp says. “We want to catch it before it gets out of hand. So have that mom spayed the first litter. Ask us for help.”

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