Published 8:47 am Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Humane Society of Davie County (HSDC) will sell its adoption center building at 291 Eaton Road to Davie County to be used as the new Davie County Animal Shelter.

County commissioners delayed a vote on the matter Tuesday evening. They were to pay $450,000 for the 15.45 acres in Mocksville. Commissioners Dan Barrett and Mark Jones said more time was needed to answer questions posed by residents, including the $200,000 the county gave the humane society to purchase the property for the adoption center.

The humane society will re-focus its energy and resources into expanded spay/neuter initiatives and animal advocacy, and explore an out-of-state pet transport program.

“We invite the community to join us on this exciting new journey to help even more homeless pets,” sand Jane McAllister, president.

HSDC will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Eaton Road adoption center for anyone who wishes to ask questions or get additional information.

“This is not a decision arrived at casually or suddenly,” McAllister said. “We have considered this option several times over the past few years, and have arrived at the point where we believe we can better serve our mission and pets in need in our community by changing how we operate.”

“While giving up the adoption center building is difficult in the short term,” says Gloria Wommack, managing director, “doing so allows HSDC to re-direct its focus to live-saving programs over the long term. This step is meant to free us up to work toward a goal of becoming a no-kill community within the next decade, and that is worthy indeed. We hope that our supporters will continue to assist our efforts in the years to come, as new and better initiatives are explored.”

“We can be very proud of our accomplishments since the adoption center opened in November, 2007,” said McAllister.

In that time, more than 1,700 abandoned cats and dogs have been adopted to new families and some 4,200 spay/neuter surgeries performed.

Intake at the county shelter during that same period declined by 47 percent and the number of pets euthanized has declined by 60 percent.

HSDC’s adoption and spay/neuter programs have contributed to that positive trend, but much work remains to be done to reduce both intake and euthanasia of unwanted pets, Wommack said.

By moving out of the physical building, HSDC can apply donations and grants directly to programs to help the community while still offering some local adoptions. Instead of using incoming funds for building maintenance or utility bills, HSDC can rescue abandoned pets and assist local pet owners with spay/neuter options.

“Our top priority after the sale will be a greater emphasis on spay/neuter,” Wommack said. “We would like to double the number of pets spayed or neutered each year going forward, both by working with our local veterinarians and with spay/neuter clinics.”

Humane Society of Davie County has benefitted from grants and private donations specifically for spay/neuter, and the organization wishes to do more to attack the root cause of pet overpopulation locally.

“Sadly, we can never adopt our way out of overpopulation; we must alter more pets so that unwanted litters become a thing of the past,” she said.

HSDC’s goal is to launch an education program in local schools, based on the curriculum developed by the American Humane Association. The organization seeks to organize and begin this program in 2017.

“This program focuses on teaching responsible pet ownership at a young age, so that attitudes and behaviors can change over time in a positive direction for local pets,” said Wommack.

HSDC is pursing establishing an out-of-state transport program after the sale. In such a program, pets are relocated into states and rescue groups in need of pets to make available for adoption. In those places, local mandatory spay/neuter ordinances have all but eliminated an overpopulation of pets and they must seek pets from outside their local area.

“The Humane Society participated in one such transport program early on with the North Shore Animal League out of New York. Since then, many more transport programs have grown up and we are researching those possibilities now,” says McAllister. “We are fortunate that Davie County has other well-established rescue groups operating and that Davie County Animal Services has good working relationships with rescue groups beyond the county to help place abandoned dogs and cats.”

“Our community can step up in several ways to serve the organization and contribute time and energy to Humane Society programs to save the lives of abandoned pets through rescue, adoption and spay/neuter,” Wommack said. “HSDC would like to ask Davie residents to consider volunteering to join the board, be a dog walker or an event volunteer, or even foster a dog or cat. The list goes on and on.

“The work of the organization can continue and grow only with help from interested people willing to give of themselves; we invite you to do just that,” Wommack said.