“Things are going great,” said shelter director Kimbrell “Kim” Williams, who started on the job Nov. 8. “We passed state inspection, that was a big hurdle for us. Things are really coming along.”
In the short time he has been on the job, Williams said the shelter’s staff have worked hard to make sure the shelter meets all state requirements.
“There are things we initially wanted to do, and some of that has been able to be accomplished,” said Williams.
Passing inspection was high on the list, a main priority, since Williams began.
“That’s where we spent the majority of the time,” said Williams. “On Nov. 8 we went to work, knowing (the inspection) would be in December, but not knowing when. On Dec. 8, she came unannounced to the shelter. We had a month to get ready. Luckily we were ready.”
The shelter had been out of compliance for several months, and Williams said the shelter’s staff worked hard since the beginning of November to ensure it would pass inspection. The inspector had been making regular trips, once a month, when the shelter fell out of compliance.
Prior to the inspection, much of the time was spent focused on the overall cleanup of the shelter. Williams, along with the rest of the shelter staff — shelter supervisor Roger Bradshaw, shelter manager Christy Bilberry and fellow newcomer and part-timer Larry Kaser — cleaned the shelter “inside and out,” he said.
The inspection, which lasted about three hours, encompassed everything from cleanliness, regulatory demands, temperature of the facility and condition of the animals. Additionally, all records were combed over to ensure every animal was accounted for. There must be a record for every animal that comes in, no matter how long or short the stay.
With the recently passed inspection, the shelter will not be subject to state inspection for another year.
“She gave us a clean bill of health,” said Williams. “We had a great report. Now we can concentrate on getting some other things done.”
Some of those activities include getting more cages to house adoptable cats, as well as working to implement a spay and neuter program. Building a solid partnership with the community is key to a successful pet adoption service, Williams said.
Williams’ arrival marked the first time the county’s animal shelter has operated with a full-time director since 2007. The duties were conducted by assistant county manager Susan Holder in the time between, mostly on a remote basis. However, with more complex and specialized policies and procedures, as well as an increase in regulatory demands, county officials said the job necessitated an on-site person.
Williams credited Holder and others for the work they did, conceding that it was indeed a tough job — one made even moreso with a depleted staff and no full-time director.
“The folks that were here were stressed out,” he said simply. “They had more going on than they could really handle, from the shelter to the paperwork.”
Adding the director’s position, as well as another part-time person to work alongside the shelter manager and shelter supervisor, has helped a great deal, he noted. Bilberry credits Williams for working hard to bring some of the shelter’s goals to fruition.
“He has been so wonderful,” said Bilberry.
In making the decision to fund the full-time director’s position, county officials said a director could bring an increased awareness of pet care and adoption, and the possible implementation of a spay and neuter program — maybe even a website presence.
With the county’s facility in compliance, Williams said staying in compliance, as well as establishing programs and a public presence, has become the top priority.
The shelter has already received assistance from several high school students.
“Several high school students have been volunteering their time and effort, some doing senior projects,” said Williams. “That has helped and having the inspection has helped a lot. I think once that word gets out that we’ve passed, hopefully that will help with our pet adoptions.”
He said he has already gotten some calls about getting the local 4-H involved, and wants to take advantage of that offer. One person has set up a website through petfinder.com that shows pets that have been adopted in Sampson. The site is not affiliated with the county, but Williams said a site that is might not be far off.
Another goal in the upcoming year is establishing a spay and neuter program.
“We want to look at a spay and neuter program, which we don’t currently have,” said Williams, who said he planned to talk with the county’s contract veterinarian, as well as other animal shelter directors. “Doing that and increasing adoptions — that is another animal we don’t have to euthanize, which is a plus.”
The more people that know about the shelter, the better it will be for animals and the families looking for a good pet, said Williams.
“I think some people don’t even realize we’re here,” he said. “I think getting people involved will help pet adoptions.”
Some of the word has already spread. On Thursday alone, the shelter saw each of its five adoptable cats go home with owners. That is a good day, Williams said.
“From the time I’ve been here, we’ve had quite a few (people) come in on a daily basis to see what we have here,” he said. And now they are seeing good animals in a clean shelter. “We have worked hard down here. I’m proud of what we’ve done and proud of the folks we have here. The staff is great.”
Williams wrote a note to his co-workers and posted it on the door, a mantra for the new and improved animal shelter.
“I told them treat every day like it was an inspection,” he said. “Everybody’s worked hard to get everything together, you don’t want to go backwards. We’re really happy. I think we’re on the right track.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 121, or by email at email@example.com.