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Health board works with private shelter to ease adoptions

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Health agreed Tuesday to allow Faithful Friends animal shelter to take adoptable animals from the county shelter without paying adoption fees.
The partnership is not final, but after the board’s policy change Tuesday, animal control can begin working out the details with Faithful Friends as the group prepares to open its shelter.
“They are very open to working with us — as is the Humane Society, actually — in doing whatever we can to foster out and adopt out those animals,” said Barbara Andrews, a member of the board’s new subcommittee on animal control adoption issues.
The policy easily could be adapted to fit other animal rescue groups, too, she said.
Board members said arrangements like this would give healthy, tame cats and dogs a better chance of finding good homes, while opening up more space in the county animal shelter.
Andrews said the subcommittee proposed the policy change in September after seeing “abysmal numbers” for adoption and euthanization rates in Rowan County.
According to data from Animal Control Director Clai Martin, the shelter takes in an average of 583 animals per month, and about 20 percent to 30 percent of those are considered to be adoptable. Out of those 116 to 175 animals, only 33 are given homes.
The shelter’s capacity is 200 animals on any given day, and an average of 463 each month are euthanized.
“We decided we wanted to visit Faithful Friends and see what kind of relationship we can develop with them,” Andrews said. “We’re all trying to work together for an increased number of adopted animals.”
In order to accept animals from the county shelter without paying the $70 adoption fee, an animal rescue organization like Faithful Friends would have to meet certain conditions.
It must get approval from the N.C. Department of Agriculture, which it will need anyway in order to operate an animal shelter in North Carolina. It also must require an animal to be spayed or neutered and receive a rabies vaccination prior to adoption — or once the cat or dog has reached the appropriate age.
County Commissioner Chad Mitchell, a member of the health board, asked if the county would lose the $12,500 it receives in adoption fees. He added that the money could be found elsewhere if it meant more animals were being adopted.
Subcommittee member Dan Mikkelson said those fees only go to the county if an adopted animal is not spayed or neutered, which goes against what the animal shelter encourages.
“I don’t think we’re going to stop all adoptions from the animal shelter just because we’re turning some over to Faithful Friends,” Mikkelson said. “Our goal is to increase the number of adoptions.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
Twitter: twitter.com/postcopolitics
Facebook: facebook.com/ Karissa.SalisburyPost

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