Animal shelter

Tommy Jones, 18, a Greenwood High School senior, volunteers in the afternoons five days a week at the Leflore County Humane Society’s shelter on Ione Street. More volunteers at the shelter and as fosters are needed, board member Janice McCurdy says. Here, Jones gives one of the shelter dogs, Jake, a bit of attention.

The Leflore County Humane Society has so many cats and dogs at its shelter on Ione Street that the society has been forced since August to suspend receiving animals from the public.

Members of the public are still invited to visit and adopt animals during the shelter’s regular hours from 1 to  5 p.m. weekdays.  

“We are turning down at least 10 animals a day,” said Janice McCurdy, a board member who is serving as the Humane Society’s volunteer interim director.

“We are only taking animals that city and county animal control officers bring in,” she said.

Animal shelter

A sign on the shelter building on Ione Street announces that the shelter currently is not receiving animals from the public and urges people to have their pets spayed and neutered.

The shelter is housing 65 dogs and 50 cats when “what our capacity should be is 40 dogs and 20 cats,” McCurdy explained.

“I have been doing this for a long time, and I don’t remember turning away so many animals for a lengthy time,” said Aubrey Whittington, board president.

She said the best solution to cutting the increasing number of animals the shelter is being asked to keep is to reduce their population: “Spay and neuter. It’s that simple.”

At the shelter, signs have been placed along the front of the building with the same message.

Meanwhile, the Humane Society is seeking the help of people who are willing to foster dogs and cats for a couple of weeks, or longer if they want.

These generally are animals who are on the list for rescue via four organizations who are finding homes for them in other parts of the country, including New England. Approximately 20 to 30 animals, mainly dogs, are shipped elsewhere by the rescue groups. Fosters help acquaint them with being around people and inside houses before they are transported elsewhere.

“We need them desperately,” McCurdy said.

Fostering cats and dogs “is extremely rewarding,” Whittington said — and “you don’t have to keep them for months and months.”

She said, “We used to adopt more to the public here, and it is beginning to pick back up.”

Animal shelter

Board members Janice McCurdy, left, and Betty Grantham administer medication to one of the shelter’s kittens.

She and McCurdy expect that the new 6,200-square-foot shelter now under construction on Cypress Avenue close to Baldwin Road will increase local adoptions. Whittington said that although the new shelter is scheduled to be built around the end of the year, it probably won’t open until 2020 because of the time needed to move animals and equipment there.

Although the new shelter will have three times the square footage of the old one, it won’t increase the number of animals housed, but it will shelter them better, Whittington said. Each animal will have its own cage or kennel, and there will be more effective ventilation. People wanting to adopt a dog or cat will be better able to visit with the animals while they try to pick which one to take home.

“It’s going to be the finest in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana,” she said. “The quality is going to be unbelievable.”

• Contact Susan Montgomery at 581-7233 or smontgomery@gwcommonwealth.com.

The original version of this article gave an incorrect breakdown of the number of animals presently being kept at the shelter.

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