Walking into the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, the chorus of barking and meowing will fill your ears. You might run into a person happily filling out paperwork to take home a new best friend or someone bringing in dog or cat food to help out. It’s all in a day’s work.
Kelly Goff, in the time she has been working with the Humane Society, has seen different pets being brought in, such as an iguana, goats, guinea pigs, birds and even rats.
“Thankfully, there haven’t been any snakes yet,” Goff joked.
The shelter is also always looking for volunteers to help out with some of the work, and they also need help with fostering animals, which Goff says helps out quite a bit.
“If there’s someone who wants to take care of a pet, but not make the full commitment to raising them, they can foster a pet until we can find it a forever home,” Goff said.
The volunteers do a wide variety of jobs, such as walking the dogs, cleaning cages and even taking the animals to different adoption events to generate buzz for some new furry friends.
In addition to volunteers and fundraising, Goff said they also rely on community support. When the Humane Society asks for cat and dog food donations on Facebook, people will give whatever they can to help or share the request with their friends.
The City also pays the Humane Society for most of the cost of handling animals caught by the City’s Nuisance Abatement unit. Earlier this year, the Humane Society requested an increase of $24,496 from $43,800, for a total of $68,296 based upon their actual cost per animal in 2012. Ms. Charlotte Craig and Goff appeared at a City Council study session to discuss the need for the increase. The amount included in the 2013-2014 City budget for the Humane Society contract is $47,000.
Goff says that the summer months are the Humane Society’s highest time for having animals abandoned, even though there is a sign taped in the window of the building that forbids abandoning animals at the shelter when it is closed.
“April through August is what we like to call ‘kitten season,’ and we average about 14 animals being brought in a day [during this time],” Goff said.
Sadly, the shelter does have to euthanize animals in times of need. When asked what could be done to prevent euthanizing pets, Goff said, ” Three things, I can say that definitively. First and foremost, people should spay and neuter their pets. [Also], people need to commit to their pets for their entire lifespan. We do know lifestyles change, but ultimately, they need to plan to keep their pets forever. Third, people need to keep their pets contained.”
Goff even said that if these three different things went into practice, she “could even wager that we’d have to close our doors. That’s how much of a difference it would make.” However, the humane society does use every opportunity they can to get the animals adopted into new homes, such as short-term fostering, posting about the animals who are ready to go on Facebook and also working with different rescue groups around the country.
Volunteers who work to take the animals to different rescue groups will travel a two-hour leg of a trip to meet another volunteer, who will then take the animal and do the same transport until they are at the end of their journey.
The Humane Society of Southeast Missouri is located at 2536 Boutin Dr. in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Anyone interested in volunteering should visit the website and complete an application. Volunteers will have to take a short class over what to do in certain situations, how to take care of the animals and what their jobs will entail. Please visit semopets.org or call 573-334-5837 to find out more.