Recently, the Kentucky House approved legislation which would ban the use of gas chambers to euthanize animals at Kentucky animal shelters. The Grayson County Humane Society – also referred to as the Leitchfield Animal Shelter -- is considered a “no kill” shelter, meaning the organization only have animals euthanized in extreme cases.
And the volunteers who manage the shelter work diligently to ensure euthanization remains a rarity.
“Most of our animals go to rescues, and that means they either go to a facility (which has adoptees ready), or sponsor homes in other states, and they then find them homes” said Donna White, an 11-year volunteer at the shelter.
The lengths which White and the other volunteers who run the shelter are willing to go to adopt-out the pets who arrive at their door are indicative of their commitment. And of course, in the age of the Internet, computer networking plays a huge role in pet adoptions.
“There is a network and it’s unbelievable, and we’re just a small part of it,” White said. “We take a picture of the pet, and we put them on our web site (as well as) Petfinder.com and AdoptaPet.com. Then our supporters on Facebook will pull one (a picture of the pet), and promote the animal on-line.”
White and the other volunteers attempt to increase the likelihood of a pet being adopted by narrowing the scope of the search for potential new homes.
“The first thing is; I think, ‘who would like this dog?’” White said. “I think, ‘is there a rescue that would want this dog?’ You try to adopt out the pets you know people will want, so you have the room to keep the ones you know are going to take longer to adopt out.”
It’s simple arithmetic, really. With the available space being limited at the Leitchfield shelter, quickly finding homes or rescues (shelters which will quickly adopt out the pet) for the most popular dogs and cats keeps space freed up for those animals deemed less desirable.
Many times, the rescue shelters that take in and adopts out pets are geographically far flung. And it’s the volunteers at the shelter who transport the animals.
“We do all of our own transports,” White said. “We actually take them to the facilities. We go to Buffalo and Rochester, New York mostly, and occasionally we go up to Salem, New Hampshire.”
According to White, those cities have more effective spay/neuter laws and those parts of the country don’t have a prevalence of the most popular breeds of dogs.
Transporting the animals, especially such far distances, is a very costly proposition most times incurred by the volunteers at the shelter.
“Whoever drives (the animals), pays,” White stated. “Sometimes we will let people know we’re doing a transport, (and that) we need money, and sometimes the rescue give us money. But usually whoever drives pays (for the transportation costs).”
Because of the high cost associated with transporting the animals, shelter volunteers have to make the most out of each trip.
“We wait until we have several animals to take to a rescue to (cut down on the cost associated with transporting the animals),” White said. “But sometimes we’ll drive pretty far for just one animal, especially if the animal has been with us a long time and it’s their chance to get out.”
Other than White, the three “full-time” volunteers at the Leitchfield Animal Shelter – Lindsey Shaffer, President of the Grayson County Humane Society; Bettye Lane and Millicent Gibson –
are decidedly committed to providing safe homes for the many animals brought to the location throughout the course of the year.
Without the local volunteers and their efforts, many innocent animals would perish instead of flourishing with an adoptive family, happy to have a new pet.
Low cost spay/neuter available
Assistance for low-cost spay/neuter is available for a limited time through the Grayson County Humane Society/Leitchfield Animal Shelter due to a grant from Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture.
The animal owner pays for half the usual cost of the spay/neuter and for the rabies shot. Funds are limited and anyone can apply.
For more information, call 270-230-8839, or stop by the shelter at 213 William Thomason Byway between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and noon.