July 8, 2017
Southern Torch (3854 articles)
1 comment


(File Photo)

The following letter was submitted to the Southern Torch by Kim Lewis of 1006 Airport Rd West, Fort Payne, Alabama 35967.  

To the Editor: Dead Dogs Walking

Our county Shelter is facing an epidemic of unwanted dogs and cats. This month alone almost 300 of them have been surrendered by their owners or found as strays. These are beautiful, healthy animals that through no fault of their own have been cast away by people who were not willing to make a life-long commitment to them. With only 44 kennels and one small cat room our shelter simply lacks the resources to save the many lives that come thru their doors.

Many of them once lived in homes, had a family they loved, a life they knew. Now they cower behind bars, frightened and confused. Facing certain death due to overpopulation. Each day, our shelter receives multiple animals and the dedicated shelter personnel and a small group of volunteers (Friends of the DeKalb County Animal Adoption Center) must find a viable rescue option for them or the staff has to euthanize them to make room for the new arrivals.

Pet overpopulation is a grave problem in DeKalb County. It calls for immediate public attention. Even those who do not have pets are affected by the crisis, your tax dollars are spent annually to care for these lost and unwanted pets, and even more tax dollars to destroy those that find no homes.

There are three main ways to end this vicious cycle of pet overpopulation and death. The most important is spaying and neutering all dogs and cats. Spaying and neutering not only helps control overpopulation, but also provides many health benefits to companion animals. Spayed and neutered animals have longer life expectancies, and this procedure eliminates the risks of several different cancers among both males and females. It also helps prevent roaming which cuts down on dog bites and attacks.

Apart from spaying and neutering our community must adopt rather than shop. If you’re ready to make a life long commitment to a dog or cat, please visit your local shelter. They have so many desperate dogs and cats that need homes. They have many different breeds and sizes and even senior dogs. You save two lives when you adopt. You save the pet you take home and the pet that can now have kennel space.

Lastly we need to end back-yard breeding. Most breeder dogs spend their lives in misery, producing litter after litter as a means to make  money for their owners, often receiving no medical care and living in inhumane conditions. Though not all breeders fit this description, they are still contributing to a larger problem. Most states allow these breeders to keep hundreds of dogs in cages their entire lives continuously churning out purebred or “designer” puppies while thousands in shelters are euthanized. Last year over 2000 animals were euthanized at our local shelter.

I implore you to contact the Mayor and County Commissioners and let them know that you are appalled with the treatment of animals. Urge them to consider spay and neuter laws and to pass legislation to better govern dog breeders. Nothing will be done if we don’t make a stand. Let’s all work together to end the shameful killing of so many dogs and cats in our community. For more ways to help please join FODCAAC on Facebook. We can always use more volunteers and fosters.


Kim Lewis, Volunteer with the Friends of DeKalb County Animal Adoption Center. (FODCAAC)

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


  1. Karen Hill Sheppard
    Karen Hill Sheppard July 09, 14:40
    What a great article! I'd encourage the Mayors and Commissioners to start a spay/neuter fund to help your low-income citizens get almost free spay and neuter. In about 5 years your shelter will see a REMARKABLE turn-around. The citizen pays $5 and their cat or dog is fixed with this tax-based fund. Local veterinarians typically are thrilled to help with a targeted program. Rabies vaccinations are included, but any other pain management, blood work, additional vaccinations are not covered by the program nor is the pet owner REQUIRED to pay for additional services. It's a program targeted solely at stopping breeding. In Madison Alabama the city of Huntsville, Madison County and private donors started this program in 2008. Their combined funding and the targeted program caused shelter intake to go from 10,000 dogs and cats/year to 2016's 5,100 dogs and cats/year. We reimburse our veterinary partners $50/cat male or female, $100/dog male or female and any size (no additionally in-heat or pregnant allowed) and $10 for a Rabies vaccination. This is a great program for Dekalb County. Based on your population $30,000/annually will make a difference in the shelter deaths! YOU CAN DO IT!

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