By Mike Robertson
Winston County Journal
Louisville Animal Shelter, located at 110 Thompson St., provides a very important service to the city, helping to keep stray dogs and cats from running loose on the streets. In the past, this has been a real problem and was the impetus for the opening of the shelter.
Shelter Director, Jody Fulton stated, “That was the whole reason it started, because animals were running loose everywhere.”
According to Fulton, stray animals were not the only problem, as some pet owners did not secure their animals on their property which prompted the city to enact a leash law ordinance. If a complaint is lodged, the pet owner will receive a couple of warnings letting him know that the animal must be on a leash or secured in some way. If another complaint is filed the animal will be picked up, and the owner will either have to appear in court or show evidence that he is taking the proper steps to secure the animal. In either event, he will have to pay a fine.
The shelter, which began operating in 2006, has seen a marked decrease in the number of animals picked up and a large increase in the adoption rate. In 2006 there 784 animals brought in with only a 26% adoption rate; 539 were euthanized, which is a last resort for dealing with the animals. In 2015 a total of 431 animals came into the shelter with an adoption rate of 71%, and only 82 euthanized.
As of this writing, the shelter is housing 24 dogs and 18 cats. Animals must clear a five-day waiting period to be available for adoption. The process begins when someone, at least 21years of age, comes to the shelter looking for an animal. He must sign documentation stating that if sometime in the future he decides he does not want the animal, he will return it to the shelter. There is a $10 adoption fee which helps to fund operations.
The animals may or may not be vaccinated, depending on how soon they are adopted after being brought in. Fulton stated that someone from Mississippi State University comes in once a month to spay, neuter and vaccinate the animals.
Fulton stated that the adoption fees do not come close to funding the shelter, and they are largely dependent on city funds and donations.
Fulton said, “The city knew that there was no way to break even on this. It’s just a service.”
He stated that Barbara Yarbrough, the only fulltime shelter employee works very hard to find homes for all of the animals.
The shelter is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be contacted at 662-773-4320.