Pet of the week is cat's meow

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Each week for more than three months, a new set of shiny eyes has gazed out from the pages of the Hartselle Enquirer begging readers to open their homes and hearts to a furry new family member.
And, according to Morgan County Animal Shelter Director Claudia Ray, readers have responded to the wet-nosed orphans in a big way.
"The Pet of the Week program has been a big success," Ray said. "Almost every animal featured in the paper has been adopted, which helps us out here at the shelter a whole lot."
On average the Morgan County Animal Shelter houses a total of 72 dogs and cats per week. Ray said nearly 60 percent of those animals are strays that have been picked up by animal control officers.
Dogs account for approximately 70 percent of the animals housed at the shelter. However, the facility is only equipped with 16 dog kennels.
"Our space is very limited," Ray said. "There just aren't enough pens for all the dogs we have, so multiple dogs are housed together. That poses a big problem if dogs aren't compatible. It's just not a good, safe situation for the dogs or us."
Ray said there is currently sufficient space to house cats, but the shelter hopes to repaint the cat room to make it more inviting to potential adopters.
"Shelters have a bad name to start with, but we can't help that people have turned these pets out," Ray said. "I would love to have a facility big enough to keep them all here in good living conditions until they are adopted, but that's just a dream right now. We would just appreciate any help people might give us to make the current situation better, especially with kitten and puppy season approaching this spring. We always see a flood of animals here between May and July."
The shelter is currently in need of cat litter and towels or blankets in fair condition. Ray said monetary donations are also accepted and greatly appreciated.
"Everybody like animals and there are very few homes without an animal in it these days," Ray said. "People just sometimes forget that their local animal shelters need help, too. I'm hoping this will remind them."
The Morgan County Animal Shelter, located at 100 Lovelady St. in Hartselle, is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Puppy adoption is $20, adult dog with rabies vaccine is $35, kittens are $15 and adult cats are $25.
Valley Feed Inc. of Decatur sponsors the Pet of the Week program by providing adopters with a free bag of pet food for their new family member.
Call the Morgan County Animal Shelter at 773-2934 for adoption or donation information.

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