Clear the Shelters - Local animal shelters are ready to help you find a furever friend

by Cristin Parker cristin@thecherokeean.com
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Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive in August 2020 that helps find loving homes for animals in need. More than 411,292 pets have found their forever homes through the event since 2015.

Two of Cherokee County’s animal shelters are presently packed with potential pets as kitten and puppy seasons continue and unwanted animals are abandoned.

Where to go & how to adopt

Jacksonville Animal Shelter is waiving adoption fees as part of the Clear the Shelter event, Monday, Aug. 24 through Friday, Aug. 28, at the shelter, 208 E. Tena St., in Jacksonville.

Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday; and by appointment only on Saturday and Sunday. Call the shelter, (903) 339-3386, to make an appointment.

While only Jacksonville residents can bring animals to the shelter, anyone can adopt from the shelter. Animals available for adoption through the shelter can be viewed on the shelter’s page on the city’s website, jacksonville.org.

The shelter is owned and operated by the city of Jacksonville and accepts animals from residents living inside the city limits only. Shelter officials recently reported taking in a dozen cats and nearly two dozen dogs over the last several weeks.

“Our goal is to promote responsible pet ownership and to prevent the spread of animal borne diseases,” the shelter’s webpage on the city of Jacksonville’s website states. “In addition, we provide services, care, registration, animal control and public safety for our community. We strive to promote adoptions of healthy, non-aggressive animals to the public, while providing temporary shelter for stray, unwanted or homeless animals.”

Recently, shelter officials reported receiving about 500 animals.

“Approximately 93 percent of those animals were either adopted or transferred to an approved animal rescue,” the shelter’s webpage states. “We will continue to educate the public and work with our community in order to provide the best animal services possible.

“Our new facility needs your help. We are always willing to accept volunteers who want to help at the shelter. Please check in with the Animal Control Supervisor to receive instructions. Our community partners and volunteers are paramount to our success.”

Regular adoption fees are $40 for dogs, which includes a microchip; and $40 for cats. Shelter officials and volunteers also work with the public to return lost pets to their homes and offer microchipping for $20 a pet.

County Roads Rescue animal shelter provides animal rescue services to the rest of Cherokee County’s communities.

Having just marked its fourth year anniversary on May 18, County Roads Rescue’s mission continues to be to assist Cherokee County with the rescue, rehabilitation and placement of the hundreds of forgotten and abandoned strays that roam the area.

“We also assist local shelters by relieving them when their kennels are too full, either by rescue through our program or assistance in networking and organizing rescue through other programs,” the organization’s Facebook page states. “We formed our organization to help a county that is overrun with abandoned animals.”

Since its formation, the shelter has rescued more than 500 animals.

While the facility can currently house more than 50 dogs and cats, officials continue working to expand. The newest expansion project is an outdoor cattery, which is doubling the space to house felines.

“Our intake is closed intake, meaning, we only accept animals based on resources available,” CRR’s website states. “We are not contracted with any government entity and we may deny any animal for any reason.”

CRR’s adoptions fees are $150 for adult dogs and cats, which includes spaying or neutering; up to date vaccines; deworming (dogs will be heartworm tested, cats will be tested for FIV or FeLV) and at least the first month of heartworm prevention or treatment; microchipping; and flea and tick prevention treatment.

Adoption fees for puppies and kittens is $150, which include all three rounds of vaccines; deworming; and the first month of heartworm prevention and flea/tick prevention. Spay/neuter appointments will be prescheduled with Dehart Vet Services’ veterinarian utilized by CCR and as long as that vet is used the cost will be covered by CCR.

All applications are considered and adoption requirements are individualized by each animal’s unique needs. For puppies and kittens who are unaltered before adoption and under six months of age, a spay/neuter contract is required by the state’s Health and Safety Code.

Email CRR at countyroadsrescue@gmail.com.

Other ways to lend support

If adopting a pet isn’t in the realm of possibilities, citizens can still help a shelter out.

Volunteers and donations of funds and pet supplies for both dogs and cats -- including food, toys, litter, housebreaking training pads, leashes, collars, over-the-counter medications and more -- are always needed and welcome at both local shelters.

“We rely solely on donations to stay open,” CRR’s website states. “We currently have a sponsorship program available where you can sign up for monthly donations.”

Contributors to CRR include West Craft Manufacturing, Andrea’s Rustic Chic, Cherokee County Crime Stoppers and the Cherokeean Herald.

“The greatest crime that occurs in Cherokee County is the dumping of unwanted animals,” Cherokee County Crime Stoppers President John Hawkins said. “That’s why Crime Stoppers continues to donate funds to our local shelters. They do a great job providing a much-needed service to the city of Jacksonville and Cherokee County.”

To donate items and supplies, simply drop them off at the shelters’ locations:

• County Roads Rescue, 601 Woodlawn Ave., Jacksonville, between 9-11 a.m. Monday through Friday; or email countyroadsrescue@gmail.com to arrange a drop-off appointment.

• Jacksonville Animal Shelter, 208 E. Tena St., in Jacksonville, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; or call (903) 339-3386, to make a drop-off appointment.

To donate funds:

• Visit CRR’s website, countyroadsrescue.org and donate via credit/debit card or PayPal. There are also two GoFundMe fundraisers set up for County Roads Rescue – one to help pay for the expansion project and one to help with vet bills for rescued animals.

• Email Jacksonville Animal Shelter’s Director Gary Grimes at gary.grimes@jacksonvilletx.org.

Volunteers are constantly needed at both shelters to help provide enrichment for the animals; daily cleaning duties; and to assist with fundraisers and special events.

To volunteer:

• Email Jacksonville Animal Shelter’s Director Gary Grimes at gary.grimes@jacksonvilletx.org.

• Fill out an application found at CRR’s website and email to countyroadsrescue@gmail.com.

Volunteers for transporting are also needed for things like getting animals to a local vet; picking up animals from shelters to bring to the facility; or delivering animals from the facility to another transport which takes them to their adoptive homes in larger metropolitan areas. Email countyroadsrescue@gmail.com for more info.

Foster homes are also in demand at CRR.

“Fosters are always needed in rescue,” CRR officials state. “Foster homes allow the animal to show their personality, receive basic training, learn socialization skills, and help them transition from life in a kennel or on the streets into a loving home which makes them more suitable for adoption and lowers the adoption return rate. Fosters are not responsible for medical fees and we are able to help with food and supplies if needed.

“After filling out a foster application, we can decide which animals in our program would best suit your household, or if you already have one in mind just let us know. Short and long term fosters are currently needed in Cherokee County areas.”

Anyone interested in fostering can download an application from CRR’s website, countyroadsrescue.org and email it to countyroadsrescue@gmail.com.