Councilman suggests funding to keep Huntsville animal shelter open longer

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala – While no formal proposal was made, District 4 Councilman Bill Kling suggested to his colleagues Thursday night that money be made available to the animal shelter to increase their days and hours of operations.

This comes as the shelter repeatedly asks the community for help in clearing the shelters.

Thankfully, the shelter is no longer at capacity after a plea went out earlier this week.

“I think we have 10 open kennels. On Monday we will probably get in close to 20 dogs. So don’t forget about us,” said Karen Hill Sheppard, Huntsville’s Animal Services Director.

On average the shelter takes in 10 dogs a day. Typically dogs stay at the shelter for an average of 8-days. With limited space, the shelter is always one bad day away from being at capacity.

“After the dogs have been in the shelter over a week, you can tell how much it’s stressing them. It’s really difficult for them,” said Hill Sheppard.

The shelter is currently getting a facelift to increase the kennel sizes. The upgrades will not create more kennels but instead, give the dogs more room while creating a better shelter experience.

As far as staying open later and potentially opening on Sunday’s, Hill Sheppard says this conversation is not necessarily new.

“We’ve talked with the council and city manager about extending the hours into the evening and being open on holidays, maybe being open on Sunday. We’ve been talking about it for 10-years. We just have not changed the hours yet,” said Hill Sheppard, who thinks this concept would help get pets to better homes.

Hill Sheppard also doesn’t think it would come at much cost to the city, even though the staff would need to be increased to meet extended operating hours.

One point of contention among many Facebook posters over the years is the concern for the low adoption fees. The shelter says the sentiment is a bit of a misconception. The return rate from adoptions is around 10 percent.

“Often the returns..it’s just not a good fit.,” said Hill Sheppard.

Click here for adoption and shelter information.

Huntsville Animal Services is always looking for foster parents to better help pets get re-homed.

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