Animal shelter at capacity
By Kevin Dye
The Humane Society of Madison County needs the public’s help with a disturbing trend before the shelter is forced into a corner and has to act against their own principles.
The shelter has been stretched to its limit with cats and there is currently no room to take in additional felines. Recently, two kittens were dumped in a carrier at the shelter on Thursday, July 26; a mother cat and her four kittens were dumped in a carrier on Friday, July 27; and the week before, a three-legged cat was dumped in a carrier. Additional animals make a bad situation worse and HSMC Director Betty Peyton said it is time for the public to realize that the outcome is grim for dropped off animals.
“Folks don’t get it,” said Peyton. “All our cat cages are full. We just can’t take in anymore. Yes, we have a new shelter, but there is no magic room with an endless number of cages for cats. Full means full. Period.”
Peyton said that two kittens even had a note and a donation of $30 with them. The note explained that the cats were good and needed a home and love. It is frustrating for Peyton and her staff who have to make decisions on the cats’ fate due to someone passing on the responsibility to them.
“The good lady with those cats and others need to understand that whether they were to give us $30 or $1,000, it does not help in opening up more cages for cats, “Peyton said. “When we moved into the new shelter, we had put in all the cages we could. So, if we cannot find a place or foster for them, the cats will have to be put down, euthanized. Yes, that is a touchy subject and one that a lot of folks don’t agree with, but it is what it is and I for one, don’t agree with having to put them down.”
Many shelters have different views on what to do with felines. The HSMC would rather be honest with the public that if they take in the cats and there is no room, they will put them down. If the folks could keep them for a bit, they will be put on a waiting list and called when a cage opens up.
“I believe that if folks are going to allow their cats to have kittens, then they are completely responsible for that whole litter. If you are going to take on the responsibility of feeding the strays, then you are the owner and you need to have the cats fixed, altered, spayed/neutered, whatever you want to call it. Why should the humane society have to be ‘bad’ and putting down felines because our cages are full when it’s really the fault of folks who won’t spay or neuter their animals. But put them down is what is going to happen whether anybody likes it or not.”
“We have no space for felines,” Peyton said. “We have a waiting list. You must be a Madison County resident to be put on that list. There are over five shelters and 12 rescue groups in Franklin County that will take cats. We are the only shelter based that takes in cats. If you need help in taking care of the stray you found, we can provide you litter and food until we can get it in. But if you try and force us to take it in, it will be put down. Not because we want to. Far from it, but no room means no room.”
To help in preventing more dumping of animals at the shelter, the HSMC has contracted with a company and surveillance cameras have been installed and will monitor and record 24 hours a day.
There was a problem with them after the big storm a few weeks ago, and they were not working correctly. However, they are now up and running. Anybody caught dumping any animal will be prosecuted to the full intent of the law.
The Ohio Revised Code section 959.01 is for abandoning animals and makes it a misdemeanor of the second degree on the first offense and a misdemeanor of the first degree on each subsequent offense, punishable up to 90 days in jail, up to $750 in a fine and probation. Misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, $1,000 fine and probation.
“We do not want to cause anyone to have to go to court, jail or have a huge fine, but abandonment or dumping of animals will no longer be tolerated,” said Peyton. “If the public is willing to work with us on the problem of stray cats, we will work with you.”
The HSMC is looking for volunteers who are willing to foster; litter and food is provided.
“We just need folks who will open up their home for a bit to help care for the cats until we get cats adopted and open cages,” Peyton said.
Currently, the HSMC is having their Adopt-a-thon until the end of July. All the adult cats are discounted to $30 from $45. I f you adopt two kittens, the total is $110 instead of $120. Anybody who would like to sponsor a feline in helping to discount their adoption fee can contact the HSMC. The Humane Society of Madison County is located at 2020 state Route 142 N.E. (Plain City-Georgesville Road), West Jefferson, OH 43162; (614) 879-8368.