Things are changing at Montgomery County's animal shelter.
Karen Josephson was hired last fall to turn things around at a facility that takes in nearly 7,000 animals each year after former director David Selby was fired.
In the past, 92% of the animals admitted to the shelter never left alive.
Josephson immediately asked for more money and more leeway in how things operate.
“There were weeks when, before I was here, if it was your week to do euthanasia, you'd been in the euthanasia room eight hours a day for five days straight,” Josephson said, adding, “No one, no one, I don't care how cold your heart is, no one can handle that.”
Josephson decided to focus on life, not death. She extended facility hours to offer more adoption times.
“Our adoptions are literally up 51% over the same time period last year, which of course extrapolates to our euthanasia being down 60%,” Josephson explained.
She also lobbied the county and received funding for five new positions, vaccinations, sanitizers and kennels.
Despite the positive changes, there are still things to be done to make things right.
For Josephson, social responsibility is vital to stop animal cruelty and neglect.
She said, “Tennessee needs to step up No. 1, and put some teeth in their animal laws and neglect is also not vaccinating, having unwanted litters of puppies that have to be euthanized, letting your dogs run at large.”
Lack of personal responsibility is also part of the problem.
“Our owner surrenders, which is people coming in, bringing their dog in, and surrendering it to us, our owner surrenders are up 22%,” Josephson said.
The work at animal control is hard but well worth it.
“The bottom line is you're saving lives and I believe you're doing what you should be doing,” Josephson continued.
Beyond influencing changes to animal laws, Josephson says animal lovers can always help by donating, volunteering or adopting at local shelters.
Visit Montgomery County Animal Control's Web site for more information and adoption hours.
- Nov. 15, 2011: Mid-State animal shelter receives additional funding
- Nov. 8, 2011: Mid-State animal control shelter in need of more funds