Can you imagine that there are cities and states in this nation that have few, if any, stray dogs and cats? Did you know that rescue shelters from these areas look to Wedowee for a pet supply? Also, do you know that rescued dogs from Randolph County are now living the high life up North and the celebrity life in New York City? One of our Randolph County dogs is even doing his patriotic duty in Afghanistan. All of this information is absolutely true due to our own Randolph County Animal Shelter.
The idea for a Randolph County Animal Shelter began over 11 years ago. RCAS president Chuck Smith and director April Richardson realized that Randolph County had a desperate need to protect and save its many stray dogs and cats. It was determined that $100,000 would be needed to build the shelter and get it going, so they began numerous fund raising projects that included turkey shoots, book sales, and garage sales. In a relatively short time, our county had an open air shelter with healthy animals that has become an example that other shelters follow.
Smith and Richardson are assisted by a staff of twelve individuals and community volunteers. One gentleman has traveled to the LaGrange, Georgia Walmart for about eight years to pick up dog food once a week. Two other volunteers clean the cat room once a week. Local photographer Ellen Sims takes pictures of the animals that are posted on Facebook. Others come when they can to do what is needed. “Without our volunteers, we could not stay open,” stated Smith. It is also important to keep the shelter in the forefront of Randolph Countians’ minds, so workers speak to local clubs and organizations and go into the county schools to educate students. It is always a group effort to provide our county with a successful animal shelter.
RCAS is a No Kill Shelter, which means that only sick or aggressive animals are euthanized. Due to limited space, eighty to one hundred dogs and ten to twenty-five cats can be housed at one time. A $25 donation is requested, but not required, when an animal is surrendered to the shelter. Since space is limited, animals are accepted to the shelter only if there is room for them.
According to Alabama state law, any dog or cat adopted from a public or private animal shelter or humane society must be spayed or neutered. If the pet has not been spayed or neutered at the time of adoption, it is the responsibility of the pet parent to have the procedure performed by a veterinarian and return a signed statement to the animal shelter or humane society within seven days of the sterilization.
RCAS works closely with Alabama Spay Neuter, which performs spay and neuter procedures for the shelter once a month. Animals are picked up from the shelter, taken to Birmingham, and brought back the next day. Anyone can take advantage of the Alabama Spay Neuter service. All he or she has to do is call Robyn Smith, the Transport Director, at 334-863-0101 to find out the day Spay Neuter will be coming to RCAS. The individual must bring their pet to RCAS. The pet will then be taken to Birmingham with the shelter pets for the procedure. The prices for all Spay Neuter services are listed on the chart accompanying this article. Since RCAS does not have a veterinarian on staff, there are no rabies or Parvo vaccinations given at the shelter.
The workers at RCAS want to find homes for the dogs and cats brought to them, and it is very important that the homes receiving the animals are suitable. Prospective pet parents are engaged in a conversation or informal interview to make sure the adoptive parents understand all the implications of acquiring a pet. They are assured that it could take from two days to two months for them to become accustomed to a dog and for the dog to become accustomed to them. They are also given Tips for Bringing Your New Dog Home that will make the change easier for the dog.
Another issue that RCAS deals with is the feral cat problem. Feral cats are often considered a nuisance even though they can fend for themselves. We often do not consider that they kill rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and snakes and should not be exterminated; they should be controlled. Feral cats that are captured and brought to RCAS are spayed or neutered, given a rabies shot, an upper respiratory shot, and are ear tipped for identification purposes. They are then released to the area from which they came to help contain the pest problem.
A lot of good work is going on at the Randolph County Animal Shelter. It is a place that you should visit just to see all the awesome animals and all that goes on there. You might find that you want to volunteer for a while, make a donation, or adopt a pet. RCAS is definitely one of the best things in Randolph County!