662-843-3432       MAILING: PO Box 117, Cleveland MS 38732       OFFICE: 125 S. Court St., Cleveland MS 38732

April 17, 2024

Animal Shelter Update

Many pets are available for adoption 

By Lyndsi Naron, The Bolivar Bullet

Jamie Gregory-Grant has been the Director of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Animal Shelter for eight years. 

“I facilitate all the day-to-day operations of the shelter including but not limited to approving adoptions, intakes, purchasing, employee scheduling, public relations, social media marketing, transport coordination, and overseeing the medical care of the animals,” said Grant.

Over the last year the animal shelter has had 242 adoptions; 132 cats, 99 dogs, two turkeys, three ducks, two chickens, two rabbits, one ferret, and one guinea pig.

“In 2023, we took in 1,100 animals,” said Grant. “Of those, we had 693 dogs, 386 cats, 11 chickens, four rabbits, three ducks, two  turkeys, and one guinea pig surrendered or found roaming as strays.”

Grant shared this was the second-highest year for intakes in her time at the shelter.

“Nationwide, there has been a trend of much higher intakes due to the economy, higher costs of pet care, and housing insecurity,” said Grant. “Our average yearly intake is typically around 1,000, so it was not wildly out of proportion to our yearly expectations. However, we did not succumb to the trend many shelters and rescues are seeing of slower adoptions.”

Grant said 2023 was the second-best year for adoptions since she began at the shelter in 2015. 

“Our community is still eager to bring home a new family friend despite the economic uncertainty some are facing,” said Grant.

According to Grant, the shelters capacity varies based on the type of animals they take in at any given time. 

“Unfortunately, there has not been any time in the recent past that we have not been operating at capacity regarding dogs,” said Grant. “At any given time we are caring for 50-100 dogs and 20-50 cats, even with our higher adoptions and with our rescue contacts pulling animals as they can. Our intake rate is 2.5x the national average when considering our human population.”

Grant shared the best way to help the animal shelter is to make sure your own animals are spayed and neutered so they do not contribute to the intake numbers.

“People can bring donations any time we are at the shelter, which is 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to noon. The main items we are always in need of are dry dog and cat food, canned dog and cat food, kitten and puppy formula, treats, toys, and cleaning supplies.”

Grant said volunteers are welcome to come during volunteer hours as long as they have already filled out their paperwork. The volunteer hours are Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

“We would love more community involvement regarding volunteering,” said Grant. “We have a few volunteers that come regularly, but volunteer involvement has been down since 2020. Volunteers assist in filling in the gaps of things we don’t always have time to do daily, such as socializing the scared kittens, helping to leash train dogs, getting the dogs out of their kennels and giving them one-on-one time, bathing animals, and overall enriching their lives while they are in the shelter. Volunteers can do as much as they are comfortable doing.”

According to Grant, the adoption process is simple. 

“We have an application that must be filled out and processed before adoption, so we cannot accommodate same-day adoptions, however, we can usually get the application processed within 48 hours,” said Grant. “The questions on the application help us make sure we steer you toward the best match for you and make sure this will be a good fit for you and the animal. We also require you to meet the animal in person prior to adoption.”

Adoption fees vary according the animal, but the medical services the shelter provides prior to adoption is far more than any adoption fee. 

“The adoption fee for dogs is $70 and includes them being spayed/neutered prior to adoption, age-appropriate vaccines, deworming, an engraved ID tag, microchip, heartworm test if 6 months or older, and 1 week of free online training through GoodPup,” said Grant. “The adoption fee for cats is $50 and includes them being spayed/neutered, age-appropriate vaccines, deworming, an engraved ID tag, and microchip.”

Apart from adoption and fostering programs, the shelter offers humane euthanasia for sick and severely injured animals, lost and found animal programs, pet microchipping and scanning upon request, quarantine for animals that have bitten or attacked someone, and shelter for stray and unwanted animals on short term basis.

 The shelters engraving and microchipping services are available to everyone in the community, not just those who are adopting a pet from the shelter. ID tags cost $5 and microchipping is $20.

The shelter also has animal control officers who can trap cats for surrendering to the shelter if you live within the city limits. For any trapping needed outside of the Cleveland city limits, citizens would need to call the Sheriff’s department and speak to their animal control officer.

“The shelter is staffed by a group of hard-working and compassionate people who come in every day to make the lives of the animals in our care better until they can find a home of their own,” said Grant. “We hope the community will be more involved this year by spaying and neutering, volunteering, and adopting! We cannot do what we do and save as many as we can without an involved and eager community.”