Animal shelter reopens to criticism

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – The Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter reopened on Monday after over 2 months of renovations.  The shelter now has an improved environment for the animals and an easier place to maintain for volunteers.  However, the shelter has been hearing some recent complaints from the public that only intensified during the renovation period.  Those complaints have now come to the attention of the Tuscaloosa County Commission.


The operational costs for the shelter are split between the county, city, and the city of Northport.  However, the building is owned by the county.  Prompted by their constituents, commissioners are now interested in taking a closer look at the shelter. Chairman Hardy McCollum says they might try a different model for providing a shelter.  If it would be more effective, the county could even consider funding and staffing a shelter.


Some members of the public are complaining that the shelter will occasionally turn animals away.  Commissioners have also been told that the shelter is understaffed, and that there aren’t always people around the help with adoptions or drop-offs.


The staff at the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter acknowledge that the public has voiced similar complaints all along.  However, they have noticed the complaints pick up during their renovations.  During renovations, only animal control officers could drop-off animals.  Shelter representatives say the real problem that everyone is facing is over-population.  They think the public gets frustrated when there isn’t always an easy or immediate solution their animal issues.


Furthermore, during renovations, the shelter had an even more limited capacity.  Because of issues with overpopulation, the shelter is almost always full to capacity.  Shelter reps say, there are days when they have to ask people to come back later or in a couple of days.  For over 5 years, the shelter has not had to euthanize healthy animals for space reasons.  However, shelter officials are concerned that if they have to take in every animal that comes to their door that might have to change.


Both the commission and the shelter have said they would be willing to meet to discuss the issues.  McCollum says the commission’s board that works with the shelter is working on setting up that meeting.

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