County humane society pays visit to Enterprise no-kill shelter

Published 5:35 pm Monday, June 28, 2010

Eight members of the Butler County Humane Society took a field trip to Enterprise in June to check out a successful no-kill animal shelter operating in that community.

The BCHS is currently holding fundraising activities and seeking grants in order to establish a similar shelter for stray animals in Butler County.

The SOS (Save Our Strays) Shelter in Enterprise operates on a $80,000 yearly budget in a donated building on donated property. Pens and cages were built by the staff and volunteers, using both donated and purchased materials. The Enterprise no-kill shelter, which has a staff of six part-time salaried employees and several volunteers, sees about 350 cats and dogs come through its doors each year. They can take up to 50 dogs and 32 cats/kittens at any given time.

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“It’s a great place, but as bare bones as I have seen. I am amazed at how they can do so much with really so little,” said BCHS president Herbert Morton.

“This started out there as a mom-and-pop operation in the 1980s and they built up from there. We can look at Troy, where they are still raising money to build a really nice shelter, and try to aim for something between those two extremes.”

While the Enterprise area has a higher population and earning base and higher level of education and support for the shelter, Morton stressed Butler County has an even greater need for a no-kill shelter, with a dishearteningly large amount of animals being euthanized monthly at the city shelter.

“There are certainly things we can learn from their success in Enterprise. They have a lot of people stopping there because they’re in a location that is very visible to the public, on the main highway between Dothan and Enterprise,” Morton said.

“They also have paid staff in place along with volunteers. I think we can all agree there needs to be someone there in charge daily, if for only a few hours a day, who is salaried, along with a core group of dedicated volunteers. ”

Something else the Butler County group discovered: the SOS Shelter is no “old dog/cat home.”

“They work very, very hard at getting animals adopted. They will push adoption of an adult dog or cat before puppies and kittens, knowing there is a greater likelihood someone will adopt the youngsters,” Morton said.

“The longest they have had any animal since the shelter opened is three years, and it has only been a year they have kept any animal in the last three years. We are looking to take highly adoptable pets into our shelter and making every effort to get them adopted.”

With the desire to keep construction and property costs down, possible locations mentioned for a shelter using existing buildings in Greenville included the old glove factory and the former Dairy Queen site, both located on East Commerce St.

“I really think we need to consider empty lots that someone would be willing to donate or vacant structures that need rehabbing. Creating a thrift shop and a shelter on a vacant piece of property would be beneficial to the city,” said BCHS member Annie Crenshaw.

Morton said the group would prepare a written plan “we can all live with” discussing location, how many animals will be taken in, how many workers needed and other details to allow the BCHS to let possible donors see exactly what is planned with the no-kill shelter.

The group is also tentatively planning to visit the Columbus, Ga. PAWS no-kill shelter at a later date.

The BCHS meets the second Wednesday in the month at 1 p.m. at Old Mexico.