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Humane Society back in business with new director

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams County Humane Society is now offering curbside adoptions to keep the shelter open and running during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of last month, the shelter has been under new management by a former police officer, Hanna Willis, who started working at the shelter director replacing former director Lena McKnight.

Willis said she has worked in law enforcement for approximately eight years and has always been a strong supporter of the Humane Society.

“Any event they’ve had, I would show up,” Willis said.

With four children between the ages of 3 and 12, Willis said taking care of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens all day seemed like a good fit for her and her family, who all enjoy helping her out at work as much as they can.

“Lena is a good friend of mine and when she moved to Lafayette and approached me about the job, it seemed like a good fit,” Willis said. “I already had two dogs at home — two Boston terriers, Willie and Boogie. We also recently fostered two German shepherd pups and kept one, Gracie. … My kids are very proactive up here, my oldest especially. My two youngest think they’re helping and love to come here and play.”

The shelter was briefly closed to the public earlier this month alongside the many other business closures during the pandemic and only offered adoptions by appointment, Willis said.

“We shut down for a bit to try and get a grasp on what is happening and people started dumping dogs left and right,” she said. “Either they might have thought their dogs could carry COVID-19, which they don’t, or they just couldn’t afford to feed them anymore. … During the pandemic, we’ve probably taken in ten adult dogs, 16 puppies and a litter of kittens. … We were forced to open back up our transport because we didn’t have any room for emergency intakes.”

It is also puppy and kitten season on top of other animals being found without homes, Willis said, adding the shelter is at its maximum capacity with approximately 85 animals total.

The shelter reopened for curbside adoptions on Tuesday and at least three dogs found new homes, Willis said.

Prospective parents of a new dog or cat pull up to the shelter in their vehicles and are able to see a few adoptable animals and even interact with them to see if they’re a good fit for each other.

“It has actually worked out better and has been helpful for some of our big dogs because they get more attention when people see them outside,” Willis said. “This is something we might actually continue doing in the summer when the pandemic is over.”

Curbside service is offered between normal shelter hours from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday, Willis said.

“Right now, we do curbside from 11 to 3 p.m. and are open until four, which gives us an hour two get everyone walked and fed,” she said. “We ask people to make an appointment by calling beforehand so that we don’t get too much traffic coming through at one time and when you do come, please wear a mask.”

Contact the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society at 601-442-4001. Adoptable pets and more information may also be found at nachs.org.