Helping unwanted dogs and cats is community effort

May 05, 2004|SALLIE BRIGHT

Boyle County is lucky to have a good working relationship between its county government and humane society.

Many counties have little or no cooperation between the government, which is responsible for animal control, and the humane society, which generally takes on the tasks of caring for unwanted pets and encouraging adoption. The government officials see the humane society as a bunch of wild-eyed animal nuts while the humane society members view the county officials as unfeeling cads.

Here in Boyle County, our humane society got off to a great start because of a dedicated group of people headed by Charlotte Bateman. Mrs. Bateman combined a commitment to the welfare of dogs and cats with an uncanny ability to convince others to share and contribute to her vision of a better future for unwanted pets. Under her leadership, this county's method of coping with unwanted dogs evolved from a ramshackle, unheated "pound" to an attractive building with a place to house cats and a heated kennel for dogs. Both the city and county governments contributed to the effort which resulted in current animal shelter back in 1978.


Today, the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society board of directors continues to work cooperatively with the judge-executive and magistrates to provide for the county's unwanted dogs and cats.

Each county is required by state law to have some means of picking up, housing and disposing of stray dogs.

Many counties provide the bare minimum, which is why you hear about places where strays are kept in a barn fighting for food until they meet their end with a bullet through the head (if they're lucky enough to die with the first shot).

We are repeatedly told by visitors to our shelter that Boyle County has one of the nicest facilities in the state. This wouldn't be possible if our county officials and humane society board were working against each other.

Services go beyond what state requires

Because we work together, the county provides the essentials and personnel for animal control while the non-profit DBCHS maintains the building and grounds, and provides many services beyond what the state requires, such as:

* An indoor place for cats;

* Vaccinations against disease for all cats and dogs at the shelter;

* Rabies vaccinations and neutering for all adopted animals, provided at low cost by local veterinarians;

* Humane euthanasia by injection for unadopted animals;

* Programs to help with neutering pets for low-income people;

* An active and effective outreach program to educate the public about responsible pet ownership and to increase adoptions at the shelter.

Our humane society would not be able to fund all these services if not for the county government's commitment to providing a decent place for unwanted dogs and cats.

This is an excellent example of the importance of working together.

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