Huntsville Animal Services sees surge in local homeless animal population

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Huntsville Animal Services urges folks to spay and neuter their pets. (Huntsville Animal Services via Facebook)

Animal shelters throughout the country have felt a strain in recent years amid the coronavirus pandemic, and Huntsville Animal Services is certainly one of those operating in crisis mode as homeless pet populations rise.

That’s why the organization is urging folks to spay and neuter their pets, to help control the animal population in the Huntsville area. Read more for details:

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Spay and Neuter!

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There are several programs to help with the cost of getting a pet spayed or neutered. (Huntsville Animal Services via Facebook)

While the need for adopters and foster homes is still there, officials with Huntsville Animal Services say another need exists that has a direct impact on the number of homeless animals in the city: controlling the animal population.

“We used to take in 7-10 [animals] on a typical day. Lately, it’s common for us to take in 25 or more in a single day. A few weeks ago, we took in 34 in just one day. We really need people to get their pets spayed and neutered.”

Animal Services director Dr. Karen Sheppard

Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) is surgical sterilization of an animal (commonly referred to as “fixing” a pet), and there are several benefits to getting it done:

  • Spaying prevents uterine infections and decreases the risk of breast tumors that can be cancerous.
  • Neutering prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
  • Spaying/neutering decreases behaviors like yowling while in heat, urinating in inappropriate places and roaming away from home.
  • Early neutering can also decrease aggressiveness in males.

If getting a pet fixed is cost-prohibitive, there are several ways to get a lower-cost, income-based spay/neuter procedure:

  • Huntsville pet owners who are on state or federal subsidized assistance or have an adjusted gross annual income of $35,000 or less qualify for the Fixin’ Alabama Spay/Neuter Program.
  • Qualifying pet owners can go to Huntsville Animal Services at 4950 Triana Blvd. SW, show proof of eligibility (e.g., Medicaid, Disability, EBT, WIC, tax documents) and get a voucher. They can then contact a participating veterinary office to schedule the spay/neuter surgery and remit the voucher. The pet owner will also receive a free lifetime license for the newly spayed/neutered pet.
  • Additionally, Spay/Neuter Action Project (SNAP) assists with low-cost spay/neuter procedures for eligible pet owners in Madison County.

Still need adoptions and fosters as well

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Adoptions are much-needed to make room at the shelter. (Huntsville Animal Services via Facebook)

Getting an animal fixed is certainly one way to control the homeless animal population, but also, Huntsville Animal Services needs foster homes and people to adopt the animals they already have in the shelter.

Anyone interested in adopting a spayed or neutered animal should visit Huntsville Animal Services. Adoptable pets are also vaccinated, microchipped and come with a City license and free bag of pet food. Those unable to adopt are asked to consider fostering an animal through the shelter’s foster program.

The shelter is located at 4950 Triana Blvd SW and is open Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM; and Saturday, 9AM to 3PM.

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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