Puppy Dog Tales - May 2016
A unique program that transports dogs to good homes in the North is helping keep the euthanasia rate at the Hancock Animal shelter close to zero.
- by Daisy Mae Delray, columnist and registered seizure alert dog
Last year the Hancock County Animal Shelter began to partner with animal transport organizations that take dogs and cats to areas of the county where there are more people to adopt them. Volunteer Nicole Nuccio facilitated the connection. For almost a year the shelter has been on the transport schedule.
Animal Rescue Front www.animalrescuefront.org is the organization that took Maya to her new home in New England. You can find photos of Maya (Chyna) on their Facebook page.
In the last decade thousands of dogs and cats have been transported from overcrowded facilities in the South to the Northeast and other parts of the country. Much of the infrastructure for getting them from state to state was put together in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina left more than 250,000 pets stranded.
Three to four million cats and dogs are euthanized every year. Rates are higher in high-poverty areas where access to affordable veterinary services for spay and neuter is limited. Rates of euthanasia are also elevated where there are weak or unenforced leash laws. Dogs and cats who roam free breed, so there are too many puppies and kittens being born.
In the Northeast, for example, low-cost spay and neuter services are the norm and leash laws are better enforced so there are few dogs and cats coming into the system that need homes. In 2011 the American Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPCA) started its animal relocating programs to connect regions with pets needing to be placed and those looking to adopt.
Two organizations, The National Federation of Humane Societies and P.E.T.S. have put out guidelines for transports. The best practices require that municipal facilities or registered non-profits work with the transporting organizations. To make sure that healthy animals are delivered, the requirements include that the dogs and cats be spayed or neutered, have health certificates, be current with their shots, heartworm negative, and at least 10 weeks of age. Fostering the animals away from a shelter environment for two weeks is recommended to ensure that no communicable diseases are present.
Hancock County Animal Shelter volunteer Nicole Nuccio and Friends of the Animal Shelter in Hancock County board members Denise Hines and William Rappold manage the program that resulted in transporting Maya to her new home.
The rendezvous point is the Webster Animal Shelter in Madison County, north of Jackson. Dogs or cats are unloaded from the Friends van and loaded onto the transports that go north. All are checked to make sure the paperwork is in order.
Hancock Shelter partners with other rescue transports as well as Animal Rescue Front. Hope Animal Sanctuary in Granada, Mississippi will often take special needs puppies, and the Humane Society of Louisiana, Magnolia Branch in Tylertown has also taken puppies.
In the past year 31 cats and more than 130 dogs have been transported to Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, with another transport planned soon. The result for our shelter is that the time/space euthanasia rate is almost zero.
A grant from the ASPCA was awarded last year to Friends of the Animal Shelter in the amount of $10,000 that paid for the van wrap, some kennels and the cost of transport for a number of the dogs and cats who have found new homes.
Working together, the Hancock County Animal Shelter and the nonprofit Friends of the Animal Shelter are saving lives.
To help or find out more about the transport program, spay or neuter, or other programs, contact the shelter at www.hcasms.org or 228.466.4516, or see Friends at www.friendsoftheanimalshelter.org, or call Christina Richardson, President, at 228.222.7018.
Well, gentle reader, please keep your tail high and your feet dry!
Love, Daisy Mae
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