The Humane Society of Elmore County is an open admission shelter which meant taking in 4,143 animals last year.

Open admission shelters take in all animals. However there is an intake fee for animals surrendered from out of the county.

“We’ll take in as many walk in the door but we’ll have to figure out things from there,” Humane Society of Elmore County executive director Rea Cord said. 

The shelter was incorporated in 1984. 

According to its statistics, the shelter took in 2,044 dogs in 2018. Of those, 805 were were juveniles and 1,236 included young adults, adults and seniors.

The shelter took in 2,007 cats. Of those taken in, 1,325 were juveniles and 628 were young adults, adults and senior cats.

The shelter took in 92 other animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, potbellied pigs, parakeets, possums, rats, chameleons, ferrets, squirrels, deer, a mockingbird, a goat, chicken, a goose and a turtle.

Intake of surrendered pets by owners was 1,502, or 36%, of the amount taken in 2018. Strays brought in by citizens or animals taken from animal control was 2,634, or 64%, of the intake.

The average intake of animals in 2018 was 13.8 a day. The smallest average intake per day in 2018 was eight animals a day in January while the largest intake per day was in September at 19.6 animals a day for 25 days. June was a close second of 19.4 pets a day for 26 days.

“It’s a shell game of every minute of every day,” Cord said. “You think you’ve got everybody sort of settled and then here comes the litter of 10 puppies or here comes six dogs and they all don’t necessarily get along.”

The lowest amount of adoptions, owner reclaims and rescue partners transfers per month were January last year with 117 pets. The highest was December with 163 pets.

The animal shelter does have to euthanize some pets but doesn’t have the numbers for how many were put down last year. Euthanasia is only used if deemed necessary for reasons such as disease factors, too many animals or if an animal is vicious, according to Cord.

“You can’t be an open admission and take that many animals in a day and think that we can possibly find homes for them,” Cord said. “That’s a pipe dream because they’re all not adoptable either.”

The humane society has two buildings that are full, according to Cord.

“We’re always full,” Cord said. “It would be nice to not be full, but it’s the nature of the beast in a sense because part of being full is trying to keep them and find them homes or work with rescues.”

The humane society also works with multiple rescue groups that take animals out of the shelter to adopt.

While open admission shelters can refuse intake from citizens, Cord said the shelter refuses to do so.

“I don’t believe in that because that animal ends up somewhere,” Cord said. “Those are the animals too often thrown up on the side of the road.” 

Next door to the shelter is Tail’s End Thrift Store which is run solely by volunteers and uses all the money for the shelter. The shelter is constantly scheduling heartworm treatments for animals and is constantly looking for ways to raise money.

“If we’re going to help animals in Elmore County we’re going to make sure we’re going to be here not only now but long term,” Cord said, “so that’s important that people have faith in us, that they donate to us, that they think we’re worth supporting.”

Cord advises owners to spay and neuter their pets and keep them at home. 

“We’re here,” Cord said. “We’re going to be here helping animals for as long as we can.”

The humane society is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The shelter is located at 255 Central Plank Rd. in Wetumpka.

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