Animal activists create tri-county organization

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Teddy Bear, a six-month-old black Labrador mix puppy, was found in a steel trap with sharp teeth cutting into his tender neck. Over the last several months his wounds have healed after being taken to the Demopolis Animal Shelter, but he is still looking for a home.

Teddy Bear, along approximately 20 other dogs find their way into the Demopolis Animal Shelter at any given time. The shelter even keeps a few kittens when they can, although they do not have the proper facilities for them.

Lucille Carpenter, a shelter worker who has been fighting hard for humane efforts in the area, said each day they receive at least one call an hour from people who find animals outside the city limits and want to bring them there. Unfortunately the already overcrowded shelter cannot accept animals found outside the city, and it is the only shelter of its kind in the area.

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But with the help of a group of animal activists, there may soon be an alternative. A new organization, known as the Bigbee Humane Society, just recently received their corporation papers after months of meeting and planning.

Carpenter said the next step for the group, which is made up of Marengo, Sumter and Greene county residents, is to write bylaws and elect officers. Then the organization will be open for membership and seeking funds.

Another thing the organization must do is decide what kind of structure to have. State law requires each county have a humane shelter and inhumane investigator, but none of these counties do.

Carpenter said they will first have to get support from their county commissioners, which includes some kind of financial commitment. The counties can then either employ workers to operate a shelter, or another option is to have a Bigbee worker at the shelter and be reimbursed by their respective counties.

Hopefully, the work of Carpenter and her colleagues will not go unnoticed, as Carpenter continues to stress how much of a problem animal control is in our area.

Another Alabama law, effective in 2006, requires all animals in shelters must be spayed or neutered, both which cost money. Currently, Carpenter has access to funds from the Humane Society that helps to pay for such procedures at the city shelter, but a new shelter would also need funds to cover such expenses.

Adoptions, which are the best-case scenario in Carpenter&8217;s eyes, are only $25 for each animal from the city shelter. But for now, the city shelter relies on the help of workers like Tommy McClain and Larry Jordan to keep animals off the street and out of harm&8217;s way.

For more information call Lucille Carpenter call 334-289-3879.