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Shelter Solutions

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Few topics inspire as much passion as animals and their treatment, and those strong feelings were brought to the surface recently in Galax, when a citizen pleaded the city to extend the amount of time dogs and cats are kept at the regional animal shelter before they are euthanized.

City officials promised to look into the matter, with assurances that they do indeed care about our four-legged friends and their fates.

But, there’s a painful reality check coming.

With the volume of animals taken in at the shelter — more than 3,000 a year, most of which are euthanized — a larger facility would likely be needed if the animals stayed longer than the five to 10 days they are kept now. The shelter only has 34 kennels, and stray animals would continue to come in, adding to the crowded situation.

If the city — and its shelter partners in Carroll and Grayson — want to offer longer stays of execution for these animals, more kennels could be required. Or, the localities could partner with the Humane Society of America or our local animal rescue agencies to find homes for them.

The biggest thing the community and local governments can do to help is continuing to financially support spay and neuter programs, as Galax did recently by setting aside money to pay part of the costs of the procedure. And, the “Ear”resistible animal rescue group is working with Grayson County to open a spay/neuter clinic in Baywood. Both of these efforts should encourage more animal adoptions.

Reducing the population of strays is the best preventive measure to keep animals out of the pound.

Next to children and the elderly, animals are what people get emotional about, and that emotion can cloud judgment.

Finding a working solution to the problem requires clear thinking, planning and realistic expectations — along with the passion.