The news from the Robeson County Animal Shelter is refreshingly good — but it could be better.
As reported in staff writer Ali Rockett’s story that was published on Sunday, adoptions at the shelter are up. In fact, according to shelter officials, there was recently a three-week stretch during which no animals deemed as candidates for adoption had to be euthanized. Perhaps that explains, at least in part, the absence of angst in regard to the pound.
We will whisper this: All has been quiet.
Lori Baxter, the manager of the shelter, and Sara Hatchell, the adoption coordinator, have turned to the social network Facebook to increase the number of adoptions. Because of Facebook’s long arm, most of the animals that are being adopted are leaving Robeson County, which we believe is a good thing. When the pens get full, Baxter and Hatchell launch a Facebook offensive, highlighting animals that would make wonderful pets, and animal lovers across the country come to the rescue.
Unfortunately, what could not be reported in Rockett’s Sunday story is that the number of euthanizations have gone down. The pace is at about 2,000 euthanizations for the year, the same as last year. While the number is about half of what it was a few years ago, it is still shameful.
So the math is easy — and disappointing: If more animals are being adopted, but the number being euthanized is a straight line, then more animals are ending up at the shelter.
Surely the economy is partly to blame. In this county, too often dogs and cats of families who can no longer afford to feed them end up at a county Dumpster, where traffic is high and some benevolent soul might provide a lifeline. But the odds are also good that animal will end up on at the county shelter, and in danger of euthanization.
But the bigger culprit, according to Baxter and Hatchell, is that Robesonians are still reluctant to spay or neuter their pets, allowing them to multiply exponentially.
There’s never been a good excuse not to spay or neuter your pet, but now there is basically no excuse at all. The animal shelter offers a free voucher program to residents based on income, and the threshold is so generous our guess is that about 95 percent of the people in Robeson County qualify.
Vouchers can be obtained to spay or neuter any cat or dog, not only those from the shelter, which can be adopted only after they have been spayed or neutered, or with the promise that will happen as soon as the animal is of age. The money that funds the program, by the way, isn’t local, but is pulled from a state fund.
So if you read this, and you have a dog or cat that hasn’t been spayed or neutered, fix it by fixing it.