At Monday’s meeting, advisory board members brainstormed to come up with ways to get more people to come out and adopt. The shelter is trying extended hours for adoptions, staying open until 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays, but in two evenings so far there have been no adoptions.
“Having some extended hours now is a great benefit for the people in the county,” said board member Kelly Palmatier, “but whether people come out, we can’t control that.”
Palmatier, who stepped down as chairman of the advisory board but will remain as a member, said the board “is trying to get the word out, trying to get enough buzz to get people to adopt from our shelter.”
There are four dates for extended hours remaining in the trial period, May 24, June 14, June 28 and July 12. On those days the shelter will be open until 7 p.m., but only for adoptions. The shelter will not be taking in any animals or going out on non-emergency calls after 5 p.m., said Animal Control Director Brent Foster.
Foster said most of the adoptions from the shelter are from out-of-town rescue groups.
“Last week,” he told the advisory board Monday night, “we had three local adoptions and 16 from out of town.”
Palmatier and Foster also explained why puppies are not included on the shelter’s adoption website. Foster said the main reason is the high mortality rate for puppies.
"A couple per week die for unknown reasons,” he said, “usually one of a large litter.”
Another reason, though minor, Foster said, “is if one gets sick and has to be euthanized, then we get hate mail for killing puppies.”
Foster said “it is a rare occasion that a healthy puppy is put down. The rescue groups almost always pull the healthy puppies.”
The shelter may also put a note on its website to let people know that there are other animals not pictured also available for adoption.
The board also voted to elect Vickie Hennessy as chairman, following Palmatier’s decision to step down. Hennessy said the board would like to see more spaying and neutering so Foster “doesn’t have to put more animals down.”
She emphasized that the advisory board only makes recommendations to the Spalding County Board of Commissioners and does not control the animal shelter.