Tensions were high at Tuesday evening’s London’s City Council meeting when issues surrounding the animal shelter were discussed.
Director of the Laurel County Animal Shelter Tom Baker had been called to the meeting to discuss the number of animals beings euthanized.
“What are some of the thing we can do to help the adoption rates?” council member Jim Hays asked.
“The Facebook page is a great way to get the word out,” council member Judd Weaver said.
While good suggestions were brought up, the fact that the animal shelter is overwhelmed was the repeated message from Baker.
When Mayor Troy Rudder asked what the shelter needs Baker replied, “At least another employee and a truck. All of our trucks have over 300,000 miles on them.”
Hays suggested adding more kennels so that animal don’t have to be put down just to make more room for new animals, but Baker said that wasn’t a solution to the problem.
“If you have more kennels then that’s just more animals to take care of and mouths to feed,” Baker said. “I already clean the kennels twice a day and have to feed the dogs. That would just mean there are more to take care of when we are already shorthanded as it is. And then when new animals arrive we would still have to make room.”
Audience members had plenty of suggestions to try to help Laurel County’s problem, from working with rescue agencies to getting young people involved in volunteering at the shelter. Some have researched the way bigger cities operate their shelters such as Lexington and suggested London should model after them.
Another issue brought up that could reduce the number of animal brought into the shelter was license for the animal. Larger cities in the area require owners of a pet to have a license to own the dog showing it is spayed or neutered. The fees collected from the licensing can be put toward funding the animal shelter, and the requirement of spaying or neutering would reduce the number of animals that end up being brought into the area.
While the animal shelter does not have a spay or neuter rescue shelter, the one in Corbin does provide this service.
It all comes back to the funding and lack of staff, Baker said.
“Some days we take in 25 dogs,” Baker said. “We don’t scan every dog. We are just too busy.”
Council member Bobby Joe Parman said that a booth at the World Chicken Festival has been set up in the past to get the public aware of the animal shelter.
The animal shelter has also tried to work with other veterinarians in the area for the spay and neuter program, but as of right now only Animal House and London Vet Clinic are the only ones that work with the shelter.
“The way it works is if someone adopts a pet they are given a $100 voucher to cover the cost of the spay or neuter, as well as worming, shots and other procedures that typically occur with adoption,” Baker said. “They take this to the vet and then bring us back the documents showing the work was done and we reimburse the vet.”
The hours of the Laurel County Animal Shelter are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p. m. Tuesday thru Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.