The has seen an influx of cats over the last few days, with 51 cats coming in over the course of 24 hours. Right now, there are between 120 and 130 cats and kittens being housed at the shelter, with cages of cats flowing out into the hallway.
While some cats are being surrendered by their owners, many of the cats being brought in are strays found by Douglas County residents. One local woman recently brought in 28 cats and kittens that had taken up residence at her home.
The cats that do not get adopted run the risk of being euthanized every Tuesday.
According to Chuck Brawn, Douglas County Animal Shelter Director, a stray cat must be held for three days in case its owner comes to claim it. Brawn says he tries to give a chance at adoption to every pet that passes through the shelter doors, but the date when the cats are killed is usually based on how long the animal has been there and how much space is available.
“We have a lot of cats and they come in every day. The ones that have been here longer run a larger risk,” he said.
Brawn also mentioned that people are not getting their pets sterilized, which is one of the main reasons animals end up at the shelter. “Cats fall under the leash law, also, and it’s really best to get them spayed and neutered if you let them roam outside.”
Diana Memmolo, Director of the Douglas County Humane Society agrees that carelessness on the part of pet owners is partially to blame for the situation. “Basically, what this is a result of is irresponsible humans, people see animals running around and they don’t do anything about it - that combined with a shelter that’s not adequate for this community’s needs.” Memmolo also says the shelter's facility is not large enough to keep up with the Douglas County population.
Both Memmolo and Brawn pointed out that there are numerous programs available in and around Douglas County that help pet owners who can’t afford to have their animal spayed or neutered, including a free program currently being offered at the shelter for select low income applicants. Applications can be filled out at the shelter.
One step the shelter has taken to help get the cats adopted is to offer a “September Saturdays Special,” which collaborates with the county’s September Saturdays program on Sept. 17 and 24.
During that time, anyone who adopts a cat that has already been spayed or neutered will be able to adopt a second, unaltered cat without paying the $25 adoption fee. However, new cat owners will have to pay the $17 microchip registration fee for each animal they adopt.
The Douglas County Animal Shelter is located at 1755 County Services Road and can be reached by calling 770-942-5961. A partial list of dogs and cats available can be viewed at the shelter's website.