Animal shelter is full: City of Valley gets update from animal control

Published 11:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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VALLEY — Police Chief Mike Reynolds informed the Valley City Council on Monday of a problem with animal control. The local animal shelter is at capacity and can’t take any more dogs right now.

“We have received word from the Chattahoochee Humane Society that they are at capacity,” Chief Reynolds said. “They won’t be taking any more animals for two weeks at a time.”

At present, the local CHS shelter on Fairfax Bypass has only 16 kennels. Plans are to expand that number but until that takes place, there’s a limited number of dogs that can be housed and properly taken care of.

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The shelter staff is working toward having what’s called a “no-kill” shelter. This means that no more than 10 percent of the animals that are brought there are euthanized. Meeting this goal means that there needs to be more adoptions and more pet owners coming to reclaim pets that have gotten away and picked up by animal control officers.

Council Member Jim Jones said the city’s present animal control officer had done an excellent job of rounding up stray animals in the city.

There’s a problem, though, if the local shelter is taking these animals only two weeks out of a given month.

“I’m planning for more enforcement,” Chief Reynolds said. “Pet owners do not need for their pets to run wild.”

Jones said that some pet owners are abandoning their pets, leaving them on dirt roads or just outside the animal shelter.

“Maybe we need to address this in our animal ordinance,” he said.

The Chattahoochee Humane Society serves all of Chambers County, including the cities of Valley, Lanett and LaFayette.

The Valley Times-News contacted Shelter Manager Amber Mingen about this current situation. She said that the local humane society has contracts with the cities of Valley, Lanett, LaFayette and with Chambers County.

The current contracts go back a number of years and limit each one of the four entities to four kennels. Valley, Lanett, LaFayette and Chambers can have up to four animals for any seven-day period. Valley is now at capacity.

Mingen said that plans are in the works to expand kennel space.

“We can expand by 15 more kennels,” she said. “That will almost double our present capacity. It would help us a lot to have them up as soon as possible.”

A couple of days ago there were 35 dogs in the shelter’s 16 kennels. A total of 13 of them were either adopted or went to foster families on Wednesday. Two of them were brought back, leaving a total of 24 dogs at the shelter at the present time.

Mingen said there has been a very large increase in the number of animals being brought to the shelter over the last four years. In 2019, Valley’s animal control officer brought a total of 55 animals to the shelter for the entire year. With four months left on the current calendar year, that number is at 99 for this year. In Lanett, 15 animals were brought in in 2019. So far this year that number is 81.

It’s possible some people are giving up their pets because of what they went through with Covid.

“Some people come here to surrender their pets because they just can’t take care of them anymore,” Mingen said. “We encourage them to keep their pets and that we can help them take care of them at home through a donation program we have. We are always advocating responsible pet ownership. Having a pet spayed or neutered is important. Pets should be fully vaccinated and kept in the home or in the yard.”