CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Chilton County Humane Society is facing a dire situation.
The organization is nearly $20,000 in debt, unable to get more vaccinations for animals, and trying to avoid closing its doors once its current supplies run out. They have about 50 more vaccine doses, a low amount that will likely run out in the next week and a half.
Once the vaccines are gone, the shelter will be forced to close, many of the animals left behind and euthanized.
“Because we’re so rural and frankly, this shelter has had a bad reputation for decades, we get very few donations,” said Katherine Reece, Chilton County Humane Society President .
Reece says the humane society gets about $6,900 in monthly funding from the Clanton City Council and Chilton County Commission. That funding is not enough to make payroll, much less buy necessary vaccinations or pay for desperately needed repairs to the concrete building. The humane society would need double that amount to be comfortable, shelter officials said.
“My plea would be come down here and take a look. See the conditions of our building. See for yourself. Right now, come down here,” said Kristi Hyche, Vice President. “Come down here and take a look. See the conditions and see what you can do. Because without the community, we can’t operate. We can’t function.”
The shelter building does not have ventilation, heat, or a central air conditioning system. A single box air conditioning unit works to cool the room where the shelter’s cats are kept. Meanwhile, the puppy room has been completely shut down. The door remains closed. Because of the vaccination shortage, they can’t risk exposing the young dogs to potential illness.
“These puppies, this place if full. It’s full. We’re at capacity in the puppy room. There’s 30 plus. 30 plus,” Hyche said.
The shelter has come a long way in the last several years, says Reece. They’ve gone from an 80 percent euthanasia rate to 40 percent. That’s still higher than they would like, but they’re trying to become a community-centered shelter, a resource for animal welfare in the rural county. To do that, though, Reece says they need the community’s support.
“You don’t want me to cry and lose my makeup while I’m doing this, but that’s literally what happens,” Reece said. “We get into the City Council and County Commission meetings trying to talk to them, and we have problems not breaking down into tears.”
The humane society is asking for monetary donations to buy vaccines, or for local veterinarians to consider donating them. They also need people to volunteer their time, offer to foster animals, or simply adopt the ones currently at the shelter.
Without the humane society, Reece said, it could be a dark picture for the hundreds of homeless animals in the county.
“They would just starve to death and be hit on the road,” she said.