Corinth shelter’s euthanizations questioned

CORINTH – Rumors of hundreds of animals at the Corinth/Alcorn County Humane Society being euthanized at once have been grossly exaggerated, a shelter spokesman said.
Board member John Mercier said while rumors floating around aren’t true, it is true that many animals are being euthanized. Shelter capacity and the high number of animals brought to the shelter during these difficult economic times means many animals which are not adopted must be put down.
“In May we took in about 300 animals and euthanized 193,” Mercier said, giving it a 64 percent euthanization rate that month. “A majority of the animals brought into the facility are euthanized, though we don’t like euthanization.”
By comparison, the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society reported last week that it had euthanized about 85 percent of the 1,700 animals brought in since the start of June.
Corinth’s shelter’s capacity is about 200 animals. A month-by-month report shows the numbers of animal intakes and euthanizations from January through June are steady.
What may have sparked discussion of Corinth’s situation, Mercier said, is that the facility only has the services of an out-of-town veterinarian once a week, so all euthanizing is done during that one visit.
When a local veterinarian was working with the shelter, there were daily visits that addressed whatever services might be needed, including euthanizations and health care.
“We still are trying to get local veterinarians working with us so we have a regular schedule for spay and neuter services as well as euthanizing,” he said. “We really do prefer using local veterinarians to provide all of our services.”
Of the 200 or so animals at the shelter now, 40 have been spayed and neutered and are ready to adopt, Mercier said.
“For people who don’t feel they can adopt and take on that permanent responsibility, we also welcome anyone who qualifies who can foster an animal, provide a safe temporary home while the animal is waiting for adoption,” Mercier said.

Financial woes
Also to help, the city of Corinth and Alcorn County have agreed in recent weeks to assist the shelter financially with a cash infusion of $50,000 to get through the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Not only is the shelter facing a high percentage of animals dropped off or brought in by the animal control officer, but also people have not been paying the $10 drop-off fee, Mercier said.
To ease some of the financial woes, board members have been filling in to oversee day-to-day operations. The shelter’s recently-hired director was fired after less than two weeks of service.
A $160,000 lawsuit against the longtime director who resigned last summer is pending in Alcorn County chancery court.
“We’re making it with a good staff of people who care and want to do the right thing to help the animals, as the members of the board do,” Mercier said.

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Corinth/Alcorn County Humane Society Shelter
Chart of Euthanizations by Month for 2009

Month No. of Dogs Euthanized No. of Cats Euthanized Total for Month
January 139 19 158
February 70 3 73
March 117 26 143
April 95 29 124
May 110 83 193
June 73 106 179

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal