Humane Society planning for new shelter for area pets

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2004

While they’re waiting for permanent homes of their own, animals at the Natchez-Adams Humane Society may get a brand new building in the foreseeable future.

The society is getting blueprints drawn up for a new animal shelter that would double the size of the nonprofit’s current building and could be erected in as little as six weeks, said board Secretary Linda Harper.

When the agency receives the blueprints &045;&045; hopefully, in the next few weeks &045;&045; it will kick off a campaign to raise an estimated $150,000 needed to erect the metal building and kennels next to the current shelter on Liberty Road. The current building will then be torn down.

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The existing 744-square-foot building is at least 30 years old, with rotting wood and with holes in the cinder block walls. Some problems, such as inadequate drainage and lack of indoor runs to keep more animals out of the weather, are due to the building’s design.

With 1,421 animals taken in from October through May &045;&045; a number that rises with each fiscal year &045;&045; and 150 to 200 kept at any one time, space is also a problem, Harper said.

&uot;Also, there is no space you can take an animal into … to get to know him before you adopt him,&uot; Harper said. &uot;There’s very little space for quarantine (for possibly sick animals.) There are no separate areas for cats &045;&045; and all that barking can be very upsetting to them.&uot;

Such problems underscore the need for a new building &045;&045; and for funds to make it happen.

&uot;Before we ask for funds, though, we’ve got to present what we’re doing and how much it’s going to cost,&uot; so blueprints must be in hand, Harper said, adding that the society will keep the public posted on upcoming fund-raising events.

The society already receives more than 50 percent of its budget through donations. Other sources of funds include United Way of the Miss-Lou and city and county government.

Meanwhile, Harper said the public can help the nonprofit in other ways, most notably by spaying or neutering pets.

&uot;Every year, the number (of pets surrendered to the shelter) goes up. As it is now, we have to do euthanization twice a week,&uot; Harper said.

Harper also encourages people to volunteer and to adopt pets of their own. Photos of several pets available for adoption are posted on a Humane Society board at Natchez Steam Laundry on Main Street, with photos switched out every month.