Animal shelter officials cite ‘grim’ numbers

TUPELO – The Tupelo-Lee Humane Society euthanized nearly 1,500 pets in June and July after seeing a marked rise in drop-offs.
The numbers, which a humane society official called “grim,” demonstrate the lack of available homes for unwanted and abandoned pets.
“Although we recognize that we cannot rescue every animal abandoned at our doors,” said shelter board President Rachel Pierce, “we are heartsick over the overwhelming number of healthy, adoptable animals whose lives we are not able to save.”
Pierce said people who leave pets at the shelter are surprised to learn how few get adopted. Since June, only 15 percent have found new homes. The rest were euthanized.
Although the South Gloster Street facility originally was intended to accept unwanted pets from Tupelo and Lee County, the one-story brick shelter takes animals from throughout Northeast Mississippi and Alabama.
It has space for 150 pets – far fewer than the 900 dropped off there every month.
“We do ask that people exhaust all other possibilities of finding animals a home before they bring them here,” said shelter Director Debbie Hood. “But when all else fails, that’s what we’re here for. We don’t want animals roaming around, getting hit by a car and suffering.”
To combat the rise of unwanted pets, the humane society launched a low-cost spay and neuter clinic this year. Both Pierce and Hood said it has been popular, but it hasn’t helped reduce the shelter’s euthanasia or drop-off rates yet.
“Regardless of how grim the statistics,” Pierce said, “we are eager to tell the honest story to the public in hopes that first, they will spay and neuter their own pets and second, will choose to adopt a shelter animal when they look for their next pet.”

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com. Also read her blog, The Government Grind, at NEMS360.com.

At a glance
The Tupelo-Lee Humane Society has accepted more than 1,700 animals since the start of June. Most had to be euthanized.
June
Dogs Cats Total
Taken in 470 390 860
Adopted or rescued 76 42 118
Euthanized 405 371 776
Died in shelter 0 0 0
Reclaimed 13 1 14

July
Dogs Cats Total
Taken in 506 359 865
Adopted or rescued 109 52 161
Euthanized 392 307 699
Died in shelter 5 4 9
Reclaimed 15 1 16
SOURCE: TLHS

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal