HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville Animal Services (HAS) found homes for more than 5,100 animals last year.

That number represents a “live-release rate” of almost 92 percent for the year — the agency’s eighth consecutive year with a save rate higher than 90 percent.

Dr. Karen Sheppard, director of animal services for the City of Huntsville, credited the successful year to more than $2.6 million in facility enhancements over the last few years and funding for the shelter’s spay/neuter program for low-income residents.

“We sound like a broken record, but spaying and neutering pets saves lives,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said spaying and neutering ensures that fewer animals are euthanized — especially when the shelter has a record year. HAS took in 5,661 total animals in 2022.

“Knowing we have to put an animal down due to illness, injury or even temperament is incredibly difficult for me and my staff and only done as a last resort,” she continued. “We make every effort to find permanent or temporary foster homes for each stray and owner surrender but need your help in making that happen.”

Huntsville City Councilmember Bill Kling is expected to donate $25,000 from his District 4 discretionary fund towards the spay/neuter program.

“I am glad to provide financial assistance that will be used to take steps necessary to reduce [the euthanizing] of dogs and cats in the animal shelter and to increase adoptions,” he said. “There are a lot of great pets waiting to be adopted, and I hope folks will come out and start the new year with a new friend.”

Sheppard said with Kling’s donation every animal that leaves the shelter will be able to be spayed or neutered.

“It’s a great cost-savings benefit to a new owner, but Huntsville Animal Services benefits because that dog or cat won’t be contributing to the homeless pet problem,” Sheppard said. “It benefits taxpayers, too, because we won’t be using our resources to care for an unwanted litter of kittens or puppies.”

If you need a new friend or a family pet, see a list of animals available at Huntsville Animal Services at