For almost three decades, abandoned animals – from birds and gerbils, to dogs and cats – have taken refuge in the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter, located at 605 Levee Drive.
The shelter’s missions is to, “…(protect) public health, welfare and property through enforcement of city and county ordinances and sheltering of unwanted companion animals, (provide) public education on the care of companion animals, and (promote) humane treatment and responsible pet ownership.”
The most common animals at the T. Russell Reitz are dogs, followed closely by cats. Dogs have a 90 percent adoption rate at the shelter. This is higher than the 20 percent national dog adoption rate, according to the American Pet Products Association.
The shelter’s current cat adoption rate is 75 percent; the national average is 26 percent, according to APPA.
Despite their adoptions rates, not all animals get adopted from the shelter. Caring for the animals on a daily basis requires a staff and volunteers. Volunteers socialize the cats, and help visitors interact with the cats. They also help teach dogs “basic manners,” exercise them, and help visitors interact with them. The shelter is currently looking for volunteers; applicants must be at least 18 years old and pass a background check.
Healthy animals stay at the shelter to be reclaimed by their owner for a duration of five days. After that, they become available for adoption by the public. Animals are generally allowed to stay at the shelter for as long as necessary, so long as they are healthy and mentally stable.
The shelter is open for adoptions Thursday-Tuesday from 1-5:30 p.m. Animals can be reclaimed or surrendered from 3-5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Photos by Josh Staab