Honoring service

Aubrey Whittington, president of the Leflore County Humane Society’s board, receives a $1,000 check from Beth Stevens, the executive director of the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce, at a Rotary Club meeting Tuesday. Stevens was selected as the Commonwealth’s 2019 Community Service Award winner and was given the check to donate to a charity of her choice.

The number of unspayed and unneutered animals that roam throughout Greenwood is a serious problem, says the president of the Leflore County Human Society’s board.

Aubrey Whittington attended the Greenwood Rotary Club’s meeting Tuesday to receive a $1,000 check on behalf of the Humane Society.

Beth Stevens, the executive director of the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce, was honored in the Commonwealth’s Profile edition as the 2019 Community Service Award winner. As a part of the honor, Stevens was given a check by the Commonwealth to donate to a charity of her choice.

Whittington said the city should be spaying and neutering animals. “This is part of the ordinance, because they’re a nuisance to other rescues,” she said.

To emphasize her point, Whittington had printed out copies of Greenwood’s municipal code pertaining to animal control. City laws require pet owners to always have their dogs leashed or kept in an enclosure from which they can’t escape.

The city also bars cat owners from letting their pets roam the city if they are not spayed or neutered.

“Now everyone has been talking for years about Starkville,” Whittington said, referencing that town’s animal registration ordinance.

Starkville requires pet owners to register their dogs and to prove that they have been spayed or neutered with the Oktibbeha County Humane Society.

“We have the roam laws; we have limitations and boundaries for our animals. We already have that,” Whittington said.

She said adopting Starkville’s registration ordinance — which costs pet owners $10 for each dog to register and a $5 registration fee for proof of spaying or neutering — would be difficult for Greenwood to enforce. She also said that police officers have better things to do than to check whether an owner’s pet has been registered.

However, she would like for pet owners who don’t spay or neuter their pets to be fined.

“These people that don’t spay are perpetual litter breeders. We get their litters every year,” she said. “Now, to me, that’s what should be fined. Make it mandatory for them to take their animals to have them spayed or neutered.”

To demonstrate how animal litters can get out of control, Whittington had Rotary members play a game. Each table had two plastic cups of soybeans, and Whittington instructed members to take one bean. “That is your new pet,” she said.

Whittington then asked one person from each table to quickly raise his or her hand. Those people’s pets just had a litter composed of six soybeans.

Whittington asked those people how many friends they had to give away their litter. She continued the exercise to show how unspayed and unneutered pets can quickly get out of hand.

Whittington said that 70,000 kittens and puppies are born a day, eclipsing the 10,000 human babies born a day. Though only a small amount of the kittens and puppies survive, it still presents a problem, she said.

Leflore County’s animal shelter has a small staff. There’s only one full-time employee to watch the 150 animals kept there, Whittington said. There’s also a half-day employee to assist as well as an employee who comes over on the weekends.

Whittington said the shelter does receive monthly assistance from Mississippi State University’s veterinarian program; officials with the school will spay and neuter all of the shelter’s cats and dogs that are ready to be adopted.

“Nothing leaves our shelter that is not spayed or neutered, period,” Whittington said.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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