Shelter saves lives one paw at a time

Published 8:58 am Sunday, September 17, 2023

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By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Nestled in a small-town community, the Greenville Animal Shelter is known as a sanctuary for numerous cats and dogs, thanks to its dedicated staff, volunteers from The Butler County Humane Society, and strong community support. This year, the shelter has rescued and cared for over 493 cats and dogs, with 352 of them finding new homes so far. 

Partnerships with organizations like Alabama Rescue Relay (ARR) have enabled the shelter to transport rescued dogs to other facilities, such as Arrow’s Heart Rescue in Minnesota, which are committed to adoptions.

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On Aug. 11, the Greenville Animal Shelter collaborated with Animal Tails in Luverne, Finding Forever Dog and Cat Rescue in Opp, and Operation Favor in Orange Beach to transport 17 dogs to Arrow’s Heart, an organization which provides these dogs with a brighter future through adoption. According to Kevin Ray, a nine-year veteran volunteer driver for ARR, these journeys are more than just transportation; they are a lifeline for these precious pound pups. 

“I despise the issues with overpopulation, but I’m delighted to be involved in finding these animals their forever homes and ensuring they avoid euthanasia,” Ray said. “Sometimes, fighting rings are involved, and many Alabama rescues struggle with the logistics of rescuing animals that, through no fault of their own, may be aggressive or dangerous.”

Stops included in the meticulously planned journey include a pause in Illinois where new drivers take over, crates are cleaned and dogs get a chance to rest, eat, drink and stretch.  

Thanks to increased resources allocated to densely populated regions of the state which receive ample government funding to guarantee compliance and tackle issues associated with stray animals, Minnesota is able to vigorously uphold stringent animal control regulations, prioritizing conscientious pet ownership. The rigorous adoption process, including home checks and vet references, along with strict enforcement of spay/neuter laws ensure placement in ideal environments. 

“Although Butler County is blessed to have a city funded animal shelter and an extremely involved humane society, these animals have more opportunities to be adopted and get a second chance at a home when we send them to the bigger rescues,” said Kristi Sexton, Senior Animal Control Officer for the city of Greenville. “Many of the out-of-state rescues our animals go to are foster home-based programs, so sometimes these animals have a foster waiting for them. We transport to Florida every other Tuesday and work with rescue centers in Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin. We also do flight transports 2-3 weekends a month.”

Sexton, who oversees the shelter, emphasized that every transport allows the shelter to save another animal’s life, but noted the facility needs more local foster homes in order to save more pets. Foster homes need only to provide a home and love until the pets are either adopted or the shelter finds a rescue for them elsewhere as food, vaccinations, and vet care will be provided. 

Officials at the Greenville Animal Shelter express their deep gratitude for city funding, support from the Butler County Humane Society, and all monetary and supply donations. Nevertheless, fully vetting, spaying or neutering and feeding rescued animals remains an ongoing financial challenge.

The shelter requires essential donations of items including dog food, puppy food, bleach, cat litter, cat food, kitten food, laundry detergent and Dawn dishwashing liquid as well as monetary donations to ensure the shelter’s success. 

“The humane society covers all the vetting costs incurred when sending animals to rescues,” Sexton noted. “We can always use donations and right now we are going through a lot of kitten and puppy food. No donation is too small.”

Individuals interested in adopting an animal, making a donation, or becoming a foster can visit the Greenville Animal Shelter at 1310 East Commerce Street Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Inquiries can also be made by calling 334-382-7806.