The Commerce Journal

March 29, 2014

Organization revamps Commerce Animal Shelter

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — No-kill is love, according to Jennifer Caves.

Caves is a part of No Kill Hunt County, an organization attempting to turn animal shelters in Hunt County from kill shelters to no kill shelters.

According to Caves, her love for animals came from growing up in a family who cherished them.

“The way I was raised, animals were part of the family,” she said. “As a responsible pet owner, you make sure they are spayed and neutered, and you look after them.”

Caves said after she moved to Merit and saw the stray animals and owners who did not spay or neuter their pets, she had to act.

Caves began petitioning the Greenville City Council to help make the Greenville Animal Shelter a no-kill shelter but said she was turned down multiple times.

Caves did not give up on Hunt County.

No-Kill Hunt County made a presentation to the February Commerce City Council meeting, and after making the presentation, the city council unanimously approved the ideas of the organization.

“They were cooperative, they were open, they were interested in implementing the no-kill option,” she said.

On March 1, volunteers with No-Kill Hunt County began keeping the Commerce animal shelter open on each Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Volunteers vaccinate, walk and teach the animals basic training.

“The more socialization they get, the more likely they will be adopted,” she said.

In the month since the extended hours began, 55 animals have come through the doors. Out of those 55, 30 have been adopted and 19 are still alive in the shelter.

Only six have been put down.

“That’s an 89 percent save rate, which is pretty amazing in a month,” she said, adding that since the animals have had socialization, they are more friendly with people coming in to adopt. “I think when you create a space that’s positive, helpful, kind and compassionate, People want to be a part of that.”

To be considered a no-kill shelter, animals must have a 90 percent survival rate.

The organization also hosts off site adoption events throughout the county and volunteers have amassed more than 120 hours of volunteer time.

“I call them our gladiator volunteers. They are really great people,” she said.

Caves said she would like to begin giving talks at Hunt County schools about treating animals humanely.

Caves said she hopes after Greenville sees the success of the Commerce animal shelter, they will vote to implement as well.

“I think Commerce has been a great starting point in showing Greenville that a no-kill shelter can work. Our money should go to a shelter that would provide a happy, healthy environment for the animal,” she said. “A no-kill shelter does represent the community’s values and ideals.”