Local communities are uniting to care for animals. New shelter facilities are going up in Alabama, giving dogs and cats a place to stay while they wait to find new, loving homes. An expansion is planned in Autauga County and a brand new facility will be built in Pike County.
Taking care of unwanted and abused animals is a big undertaking - one cities and counties continue to make a priority to help tackle a critical overpopulation of cats and dogs and connect the animals with loving families.
In Troy, the city officials announced that they've partnered with the City of Brundidge and Pike County Commission as well as the Troy Animal Shelter Coalition and the Humane Society Pike County to build a brand new shelter. The current facility only has 16 kennels for dogs. The new Pike Animal Shelter will be built at 800 Henderson Highway and will also handle cats.
"It's going to reduce the suffering of homeless animals in Pike County. God knows they deserve it. We need to do this for them. This is what we're doing for the animals in our city and county," said Ed Stevens, a member of the Pike Animal Shelter partnership.
Similar efforts are underway in Autauga County. After three years of fundraising, the humane society will break ground later this year on a kennel expansion project which will include 18 additional kennels, a puppy and cat room and a medical examination room.
"We serve the county and Prattville city limits so we're continuing to grow as Prattville continues to grow and the needs of the county mandate that we grow as the community grows," said Jenny Whisenhunt, Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator for the Prattville Autauga Humane Shelter.
Bigger and better shelters help with care, adoption and spaying and neutering and provide room to keep stray animals off the streets.
"The main thing we want to try to accomplish is to find more homes for more animals. The more responsible pet owners we have, the less the government has to get involved in dealing with it. That's the whole point is to find homes for animals. That's the reason for the public, private partnership. If we don't find homes with responsible owners, then we're going to have more and more to deal with," Troy Mayor Jason Reeves.
The Prattville Autauga Humane Society hopes to break ground on its new addition in late summer. The organization is still raising money for the project and seeking donations.
Construction on the Pike Animal Shelter could begin by the end of the year.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that animal shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year in our country.