Oliphant extolled shelter staffers and volunteers with HATS (or Helping Animals to Survive).
“It is truly amazing how the staff and volunteers have come together to reach this goal and to sustain it,” she said. “The shelter had some really serious policy and operational transitions to make, and at the request of the citizens in the county, they did it. Luckily, the no-kill equation is a proven road map that leads the way for counties that are willing to embark on the journey. There are some amazing unsung heroes in Lincoln County, including HATS volunteers, who foster animals in their homes, facilitate adoptions through public outreach events, host a huge monthly spay-and-neuter clinic and fundraise thousands of dollars each year to help the shelter cover medical bills for very sick––but treatable––animals.
“We were among the first five counties in the state of North Carolina to reach no-kill status, which was exceptional, especially considering where we were with the number of animals who were being killed for space,” she added. “To maintain that success for three years is remarkable. A lot of credit is due to the shelter staffers, who were willing to travel out of state to receive best-practices training. Because of their willingness to learn and innovate, the outcomes for the county’s animals are so much better. I really wish the people in the county could see all the good things that are happening daily with animal services.”
And Oliphant thanked the members of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners for their efforts.
“Our commissioners also deserve credit for continuing to fund animal services,” she said. “Without proper support from the board, none of this would have been possible.
“I am really proud to say that Lincoln County Animal Services is my hometown shelter,” she added. “They have overcome tremendous obstacles, and because a strong system is in place now, it makes it easier for them to all make the best decisions for each animal, which is what everyone wanted to begin with. We just needed a plan that would show us the way. That is the beauty of the no-kill equation. It’s all right there. We can keep this going, too, with the help of the people of Lincoln County. Please adopt from the shelter instead of buying from breeders. So many local animals need homes, so adopt instead of shopping. Consider becoming a short-term foster family for a dog or a litter of kittens. Spay and neuter your pets, and if you need low or no-cost options for that, please reach out to the shelter. And please donate to HATS to help them continue their work.”
As well, there are many other programs that deserve mentioning, as Oliphant observed.
Among them are: “the County’s work with feral cats; the ‘No Cold Pets’ project through HATS; tons of grants––big ones––being written and received for innovative programs; and training opportunities for animals that need some time before they are ready for adoption. It’s incredible!”
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