For over 50 years the Macon County Humane Society has been working as advocates for the community's furry residents. The non-profit shelter first opened in 1962 with the mission of providing Macon County with a no-kill shelter for homeless cats and dogs. For the past 51 years, the Humane Society has been operating on public donations, community support, and with an incredible network of volunteers to keep the facility open.
From January 1 to August 20 of this year the humane society has provided shelter for 90 new cats/kittens and 160 dogs/puppies. To keep the pet population balanced, the shelter has been able to adopt out 92 cats/kittens and 211 dogs/puppies. As of September, the shelter was providing a home for 30 dogs and 32 cats, which is about average for the shelter.
Cathy Howman, shelter director, Todd Ortiz, shelter manager and Lisa Bates, the shelter's assistant manager work every day to keep the shelter's door open. With a total of three full-time and five part-time employees, the humane society relies predominantly on staff to ensure that all the day-today duties are carried out. In addition to the financial contributions from members of the community, the shelter relies on volunteers for critical items such as food and cleaning supplies. Volunteers are also an important part of the shelter's operations and getting animals socialized and used to human interaction.
With the shelter's population reaching maximum numbers several times a year, fostering unwanted pets is critical. “We always need help fostering animals when we are full or when we have special animals who need constant care,” said Howman. “Fostering new kittens that need to be bottle fed, or shy dogs who need a little extra love to get them ready for a new home is always needed. Fostering is also a great deal of help to us when the shelter is full and we have animals on the waiting list that might otherwise be taken to organizations that would euthanize them.”
Howman explained that as a no-kill shelter, the humane society will never make room at the shelter at the expense of another animal, but instead they work through fostering programs and transport programs with credited shelters in Florida and Boston with other no-kill shelters to find other homes for the animals. Because of that policy, the humane society is often at capacity as has a waiting list of animals in the community. “Even if we got $1 million tomorrow for the shelter to expand, we would expand, but we would still be full,” explained Howman. “That is how big the need is here in the community.”
Howman said the only solution to the county's high homeless pet population is to educate the community on the importance of spay and neutering pets. So far this year, the humane society has worked with the community to spay and neuter 554 animals. The shelter has been working with Humane Alliance low cost spay and neuter clinic since 2000 to provide low cost spay and neutering options for families in Macon County. Starting this week dogs will cost $25 and cats will cost $20.
Another program geared toward helping pet lovers in the community run by the humane society is the microchip clinic the shelter holds various times during the year. The next clinic, which will be held on Wednesday November 13, at the humane society from 5:30 to 6:30pm, will allow local families to get a microchip implanted in their pets for just $15. This program is intended to help lost pets return home as quick as possible.
Currently, the shelter's kitten population is at capacity and in hopes of finding forever homes for the pets, the humane society is holding a pet adoption day at the Franklin Flea Market on October 12 from 10:30 am to 2 pm. Adoptable dogs and cats will be on hand for those interested.
Macon County Humane Society volunteer Tammy Sigler is working to restart an educational program that will be given to students on the importance of proper pet care. Sigler is also working to develop a network of individuals in the community interested in being advocates for pets through a monthly “Pet Lover Potluck Supper.” The group is intended to build networking and volunteering opportunities for people in the community wanting to help homeless animals in Macon County.
On Saturday November 2, the humane society has an auction scheduled for 4 p.m. to help raise money for much needed funds to help with operational costs of the shelter. The shelter is still collecting items for the auction such as jewelry, gently used furniture, collectibles, gift cards, appliances and other odds and ends. With the winter months approaching, the shelter is in need of blankets and other items to help keep the humane society animals warm.
For more information about the shelter and for ways you can help contact the shelter at (828)524-4588.