Animal Shelter

David Coffey, supervisor of the Laurel County Animal Shelter, holds onto a blue heiler, who is up for adoption.

The Laurel County Animal Shelter’s yearly activity report through Friday shows a low number of pet adoptions — 6 percent for dogs and 3 percent for cats.

A total of 4,827 animals, strays and voluntary surrenders were taken into the shelter, 3,407 dogs and 1,420 cats. Only 224 dogs and 52 cats were adopted out. The rest were euthanized, many of which were too wild to be safely adopted out.

The adoption rate has been down since the price was increased in July 2006 to cover a veterinarian’s spay and neutering fee, Supervisor David Coffey said. The price used to be $25 for dogs and $10 for cats and now it is $100 for dogs and $65 for cats. The shelter does not benefit financially from the increased fees because the money all goes to the veterinarians who perform the surgeries.

“Our adoptions have been down because our prices have been higher, but we had the spay and neuter come with the cats and dogs,” Coffey said.

However, Coffey thinks the shelter is getting more quality adoptions.

“Instead of just coming in and packing off dogs, it makes you think a little bit more before you actually come in here,” he said. “You put a little more thought into it before you lay a $100 down. I think this is a better way because at least we know that they are all getting spayed and neutered. When we do adopt out a dog, we don’t have to worry about it reproducing, making more animals for the shelter. I’m hoping in a couple or three years we can start seeing some results.”

The year before the spay and neuter program started, 700 dogs were adopted out that were not neutered.

“We were the biggest contributor to the problem,” Coffey recalled. “I guess about a third might have been fixed that left here before by people who really cared about them. Now we know they’ll be fixed. I know I feel better about it even if adoptions have been down. I feel better about it as far as the big picture.”

For the last two years the shelter has received a grant to pay for a spay and neuter program for low income people who want to adopt a pet.

“A couple of weeks ago, I applied for the grant again,” Coffey said. “I’ve gotten one for the past two years. The first year I got $5,000 and last year I only got $2,500 because there were more shelters applying for the grant. I don’t know what my allotment will be for next year.”

Coffey has been with the shelter for eight years and has been supervisor since March 2007.

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