The Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter is making some major policy changes in the wake of the distemper outbreak there a couple weeks ago.
More than 200 dogs recently had to be euthanized after the distemper virus spread through the crowded canine populations at the shelter.
But now, officials are taking steps to cut down on the overall number of animals.
"Puppies are cute, but they end up here at the shelter," volunteer Kathy Mills said. "And we have a very high euthanasia rate here because there is such a high volume of animals and such a low adoption rate."
From now on, if you want to drop off an animal, it will cost you $10.
"That is to compensate for vaccines that we are now instituting when they frist come through the door," said Dr. William Hagans, a veterinarian who serves on the shelter's board. "So hopefully that will spur us in the future."
Another rule now in effect concerns animal control officers from the shelter's service counties of Perry, Breathitt, Letcher and Knott. They're being limited to 25 drop-offs per week.
"The only thing that the animal control officers will be doing now will be going out and picking up stray animals and vicious animals" said shelter manager Tom Caudill. "They will not be going out and getting owner-surrendered animals."
George Herald, an animal control officer from Breathitt County, said, "We really work at it and we try our best to help out the animal shelter as much as possible."
One of the other big changes that officials at the shelter are instilling is the elimination of the holding pen near the entrance. No longer will you be able to drop off your unwanted animals after hours.
"It was a safety issue with the drop-off bin," Hagans said. "Out here on a hot day someone could just come and drop an animal off in the pen and that's not healthy for the animal."
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