County Humane Officer Shelia Chambers has compassion for animals and hopes that she can make a difference in the lives of those that are abandoned and mistreated. She became involved with Jackson County Animal Shelter as a part-time employee about four years ago. When the humane officer position was available she applied and was hired.
Said Chambers, “The opening became available and I wanted it and I got it. It was in April 16 of this year.”
Chambers stated that they are now working with an animal rescue group.
“We work with ARF that is organized in Ripley and that is Animal Rights Fur-ever and they have been working with us. They’ve saved a lot of lives with us and for us. We are trying to find a rescue group for cats, that has been pretty hard to do and we have not been successful there. As far as the dog we have been very successful. We went down from 700 dogs to like 17.”
Tara Mayne volunteers for Animal Rights Fur-ever (ARF). However, Mayne is also trying to deal with the vast feral cat problem that seems to be quickly growing in the county. Chamber’s stated that they would defiantly work with her or anyone else who would like to help rescue pets.
“We would have to find out what her policy is. They would have to be spayed or neutered and wormed just like the dogs here have to be before they leave the shelter. We would have to know when they are going to. So we would work with the cat rescue just like we work with dog rescues,” Said Chambers.
According to the officer there have been positive changes for the animals in the shelter.
“We used to have to put them to sleep because people were not adopting them. You can’t keep them forever. There are strays that need to come in. But now working with the rescue groups, that doesn’t happen anymore unless a dog is vicious or sick. Its not as hard on us putting a dog down if he is vicious or very sick as it is with a sweet little dog that is as friendly as can be, but we just couldn’t get them adopted.
Chambers admitted that there was a sign saying the shelter was not receiving dogs.
Explained the humane officer, “That is because we are a no kill shelter” With ARF we are finding homes with their program and assisting the shelter. There are people on a list for us to accept a dog. They don’t understand we are not taking in animals and why we are always full. That’s because we don’t take dogs in anymore and then five days later kill them.”
Page 2 of 2 - Chamber stated that the Humane Society helps with their SNAP (Spay and Neuter All Pets) program that helps pay for animals needing spayed or neutered. She added that they also send a monthly check to help with the cats, but she doesn’t see any
members of the Humane Society. However it was probable that the previous administration had something to do with the rift.
“I do know of one person who was told not to come back to the shelter and that could be it,” Said Chambers, “If it comes down to me, if you want to help me or help the animals we can use as many volunteers as we can get. We take a lot of them out of really bad situations and we give them a safe haven. There are dogs that are so scared but we don’t have the time to work with them much. This is when the volunteers make a difference and work with them for one-on-one time every day.
Chambers said she enjoys her job more because of the changes that have helped save pets.
“I love this work. Before ARF and rescues, I still loved it. But there was so much that was negative when we had to end an animal’s life. I worked 30 years in the aluminum plant here in Ravenswood. I kind of wish that I would have given it up years ago and tried to get on here because I absolutely love this job. I know a lot of people would think and may not agree with me, but I can see the appreciation of the animals,” ended Chambers.
For information on becoming a volunteer at the Jackson County Animal Shelter, call (304) 372-6064.