The Sampson County Animal Shelter enjoyed another successful year of adoptions and while a “Home for the Holidays” adoption event did not bolster local adoptions a great deal at the end of 2015 , that was chalked up mostly to a smaller amount of animals at the facility due to ongoing renovations.
Floors at the shelter were being redone throughout December, starting Dec. 7, and that work is continuing. Shelter officials said they could not accept any dogs during that time unless it is an emergency. Shelter director Alan Canady said the renovations will extend through January.
“We’re hoping to have the floors refilled by Feb. 1,” Canady said.
It is maintenance for a project from a year ago, in which the floors were completely overhauled in order to cut down on the spread of disease. Canady said filling in some of the cracks should mean that the next significant work on the floor is 5-10 years away.
The floors in the shelter were previously made of concrete with 3-foot high cinder block barriers between each kennel — neither with protective coating. Epoxy sealant, a need for continued disease control at the facility, was included at a $7,000 cost in the 2014-15 budget and subsequently utilized as part of the initial project a year ago.
Concrete is porous and holds bacteria no matter how much cleaning is done. Epoxy was expected to help in that regard, making cleaning a little easier and efficient, while transforming “dark and dreary” walls into light-bluish gray color.
“With our concrete being sealed, our cleaning would be more productive and decrease the chance for parvovirus outbreaks,” Canady has said. “With less disease the public would also have more confidence that our animals are not sick, therefore causing the adoption (and) rescue rate to increase.”
The work now being done is to ensure that coating stays intact, filling in cracks as needed.
“We’re trying not to accept any strays,” the shelter director said Tuesday. “Of course, we will on a case-by-case basis and if Animal Control brings any in. We try not to turn any people away, especially if it’s an owner.”
The work did affect the shelter’s annual outreach during the holidays.
There were seven animals adopted during the holidays, but the shelter director said the drop was likely due to the ongoing renovations at the facility.
“It didn’t go quite as good as we hoped,” said Canady. “We did get some adoptions, but at the same time we were doing renovations and we only had about 20 animals at the shelter. We normally have double or triple that amount. So, in those terms, (seven) was actually pretty good.”
For the past several years, hours have been extended on Saturdays during the holiday season to find shelter friends a new home and life with a loving family. For 2015, shelter officials took it a step further and extended adoption hours not just on Saturdays from1 until 5 p.m., but Tuesdays and Thursdays until 7 p.m.
In all, the shelter was open on four Saturdays and extended its hours on four Tuesdays and three Thursdays between Nov. 28- Dec. 22. By extending the hours, Canady said the shelter becomes more accessible for people who leave work after 5 or 6 p.m.
During the 2014 holiday season, about 30 animals found new homes throughout Sampson County.
“We kind of understood,” said Canady of the decreased number for the 2015 holidays, “but we still wanted to give the public that option.”
Usually, about 40 animals are available for adoption. The shelter is a department of Sampson County and houses stray, homeless, seized, abandoned and unwanted animals.
Canady said he is hoping to keep the shelter’s number around 20 dogs — there are currently that many, along with eight cats — which would mean that animals are being adopted and rescued, and there is plenty of space for the required cleaning to be done without moving animals around a great deal.
Despite the shelter taking in roughly 400 fewer animals over the course of 2014, the Sampson County Animal Shelter’s local adoption and rescue numbers were in line with 2013’s figures. Of a total intake of 3,214 animals in 2014, the shelter adopted out 270 and there were an additional 847 rescued, or 34.8 percent. In 2013, the shelter was able to see 1,151 animals — 281 adoptions, 870 rescues — go to local homes and rescue organizations out of a total intake 3,672, or 31.3 percent.
Sampson saw 8.4 percent local adoptions in 2014, compared to 7.6 percent in 2013.
Numbers for 2015 are still being compiled, but Canady said he believes the intake amount is similar to last year’s amount, while the rescue rate “has gone up drastically.”
The plan for 2016 is the same: see as many animals adopted and rescued as possible.
“If we’re holding at that number,” Canady remarked of the 20 target, “then we’re doing something right.”
For more information, contact the Sampson County Animal Shelter at 910-592-8493. The shelter is located at 168 Agriculture Place, Clinton. Shelter officials may also be reached for adoption opportunities by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.