On a bright, sunny morning at the end of August, a group of dogs, their adoptive families, shelter staff and media gathered outside Huntsville Animal Services to celebrate. Activities for the dogs, sweet treats for little humans, pup cups for canines, a photo backdrop and more decorated the front lawn as people gathered and waited for the festivities to begin.
The Adoption League of Heroes Reunion marked the end of a popular summer campaign that recognized adopters and those who foster animals for the shelter as the lifesaving heroes they are. The crowd listened as Mayor Tommy Battle delivered remarks and expressed heartfelt thanks to everyone for stepping up and rescuing homeless animals.
An amazed murmur rippled through the audience when the Mayor announced more than 900 animals came through the shelter in June and July. The shelter took in an additional 600 animals in August. After an unusually busy summer caring and finding new homes for hundreds of homeless pets, it was time to celebrate before heading into an equally busy fall.
The shelter also cut the ribbon on its recent expansion at 4950 Triana Blvd. SW. It was the City’s latest effort to help streamline day-to-day operations while also saving pets’ lives.
Increased capacity for saving lives
Reunion attendees toured the newly opened Phase III renovated space and learned about the impact it would have on shelter operations.
“The animals are having a much better experience being sheltered, and we are continuing to save lives.” – Dr. Karen Sheppard
Championed by City Administrator John Hamilton, the Huntsville City Council approved $1.2 million in funding for the third and final phase of renovations on the 30-year-old Huntsville Animal Services shelter in June 2021. Among other amenities, the new addition is home to a large surgical suite that allows the shelter to provide more efficient spay and neuter services and other procedures for injured or sick animals.
“The surgery suite is modern and very effective for the volume and constant flow of animals,” Sheppard said. “We estimate that an efficient spay and neuter program like what we have now will enable us to save over 5,000 lives a year.”
The Phase III renovation also includes:
A quiet isolation area for animals to recover from injuries, illnesses and surgeries
- An industrial bathing station collocated with washers and dryers
- An area for temporarily housing feral cats
- A secure garage space that allows Animal Control officers to safely bring in stray and confiscated animals
“The animals are having a much better experience being sheltered, and we are continuing to save lives,” Sheppard said.
The renovations were completed in phases so the shelter could continue to provide uninterrupted services during construction. Sheppard is excited for the shelter’s future and believes the City’s total $2.67 million investment could extend the building’s life for another 30 years.
No place like home
The dramatic spike in stray, lost and surrendered animals this summer has prompted the shelter to remind residents about the importance of spaying and neutering family pets.
“It’s the easiest and most effective way to prevent animal overpopulation,” Sheppard said.
Of course, even with the improvements to the shelter, the best place for a pet is in the loving care of a forever home.
All adoptable pets at the shelter are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and come with a City license and free bag of pet food. Those unable to adopt are asked to consider fostering an animal through the shelter’s foster program.
Click here to see photos, ages and descriptions of available animals.
The shelter is located at 4950 Triana Blvd. SW and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.