Area animal shelters filled to capacity; staff constantly seeks to place new owner

By NIKKI ROWELL,

Over a month ago, Webster Animal Shelter received a call about a small dog and a litter of seven puppies that needed homes.

“We really didn’t have room,” director Vicki Currie said. “We had dogs in every room.”

The shelter was at capacity, but they were somehow able to make room in the kitchen for the dog to raise her puppies for one month.

The last puppy of the litter was adopted out last month.

While this is an example of the good local animal shelters are able to do in the community, it doesn’t always work out this way.

Most of the local shelters stay at capacity and have a waitlist for appointments to surrender animals.

Madison County Animal Control officer TchiaKousky Williams said instances like these are common during the spring and early summer.

“Lots of animals are abandoned this time of year, especially kittens,” Williams said. “I tend to see them being dropped off at animal hospitals.”

Currie, the director of Webster Animal Shelter and investigator with Madison Police Department, said they have approximately 60 kittens, 25 cats and 40 to 50 dogs and puppies at the shelter right now.

Webster is the only shelter in the state run by a municipality and every animal picked up by animal control in the city limits goes there.

“If animal control picks them up and no one claims them, they come here,” Currie said.

For their staff of eight, it gets difficult. They rely heavily on donations and volunteers who come by to take the animals for walks, socialize them so that they can be adopted and other tasks.

All animals picked up by Williams – that are not claimed after she posts them online to find their owners – are taken to Mississippi Animal Rescue League (MARL).

MARL is an open admission shelter, meaning that it accepts every animal that comes through the door. Because of that, they take in an average of 50 to 60 animals each day. This number increases during the spring and summer months.

Currie said she has seen animals come to Webster with injuries from being thrown out and has found animals that have been abandoned outside of the shelter’s front door.

If someone finds an abandoned animal or a cat or dog wandering the streets, they should contact animal control.

“If you find a litter of small kittens and they’re all together, don’t pick them up and take them to the shelter. It’s likely that the mother is looking for food and will come back,” Currie said.

She said animal control will figure out the best next steps for the animal.

Williams said residents can help decrease the number of pets that end up in shelters by having animals spayed and neutered.

“I highly recommend pet owners or individuals that feed stray animals to have them spayed or neutered. I also highly recommend owners to have their animals up to date on shots, microchipped and have a collar with rabies inoculation and ownership tags attached,” Williams said.

Those who find strays in their neighborhoods within the city limits of Jackson, Ridgeland or Madison should contact their local police department or animal control.

If a resident comes across abandoned animals in a platted subdivision located in an unincorporated area of Madison County can contact Madison County Animal Control at 769-572-1443 or via email at tl.williams-@madison-co.com.

Those who would like to help their local animal shelters with the large amounts of animals they care for each day, they accept donations of old towels, sheets and blankets, food and more.

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