Wiregrass Humane Society accepts kittens after tragedy

JAY HARE/DOTHAN EAGLE Wiregrass Humane Society manager Ryan Lawley looks over some of the kittens that were brought over from the Dothan Animal Shelter on Thursday. For more photos of some of the kittens up for adoption at the Wiregrass Humane Society go to the gallery section at dothaneagle.com.

The Wiregrass Humane Society has extended a helping hand to the Dothan Animal Shelter following last week’s pit bull attack that killed 29 cats.

Wiregrass Humane Society manager Ryan Lawley said his organization has boarded between 15 and 20 of the city shelter’s cats at the shelter’s request. A no-kill shelter in Parma, Ohio, accepted another 30 cats following the tragedy, according to multiple reports.

Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish said the relocation of the cats has provided the city’s General Services department room to bolster some of the shelter’s facilities. Two pit bulls escaped their cages and tore into cat cages in the attack, and officials have said outdated equipment permitted the incident to occur.

“The General Services department responded immediately to help with bolstering of the structures,” Parrish said. “Those modifications are under way. We’re very appreciative of the Wiregrass Humane Society for stepping up as other local rescues do in times of need.”

The Wiregrass Humane Society’s facility is next door to the city’s animal shelter, and Lawley said he offered his group’s assistance the morning following the attack.

“I asked if they needed help, and they said it would be a huge help to take some cats,” Lawley said.

Lawley evaluated the space at his facility, and even though he was at capacity, he managed to find enough room to board between 15 and 20 felines.

“We’re at 75 to 80 cats,” Lawley said Wednesday afternoon. “Fifty is our comfortable number, but we can handle (the influx) for a couple of weeks.”

None of the cats was injured in the attack, but the Wiregrass Humane Society has provided medical care like necessary vaccinations and spaying/neutering surgeries to the felines. Some cats will be available for adoption by Friday or Saturday, Lawley said.

Lawley said his organization was glad to extend a hand after an incident that has caught national attention.

“I think it’s sad it takes a tragedy to realize the city needs a new facility,” he said. “The staff over there is great.”

City commissioners had an in-depth discussion about creating a state-of-the-art shelter facility during strategic planning meetings in February. A public-private partnership could be in the works that would help create a multi-million dollar shelter in a more visible location, but definitive plans have not been set.

Commissioners labeled a new animal shelter as a “top” priority following the February meetings.

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