Pam Williams takes Jewel for a walk outside the shelter on Wednesday. | Austin Nelson
Pam Williams takes Jewel for a walk outside the shelter on Wednesday. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Shelter celebrates anniversary, adopt-a-dog month

Published 6:45pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October holds special significance for the Lake Martin Animal Shelter.
Not only is it National Adopt-a Shelter-Dog Month, but it also marks the 31st anniversary that the shelter has been in operation.
Shelter director Mia Chandler said that shelter was born out of the efforts of a group of ladies and one gentleman in October of 1982.
“Roberta Alison Baumgardener is the reason we exist,” Chandler said. “It was her idea.”
Chandler said Baumgardner got together with some friends, including Lee Stimson, Gene Davenport, Libba Robinson and Molly Chapman after being displeased with how local strays were being treated.
“Apparently what had been going on was they used to take 55-gallon drums, put the strays in it and hook up a tube to a car exhaust – basically carbon monoxide poisoning,” Chandler said.  “They were horrified and felt like something had to be done.”
The rest, as they say is history. The shelter serves Alexander City limits, gives some assistance to the county and occasionally is called upon to help smaller neighboring counties.
Since Chandler has been at the helm of the shelter, she has come in contact with some 20,000 animals.
“People don’t realize the sheer volume that comes through this facility,” Chandler said.
If there is one thing Chandler wants to emphasize during Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month it is “free doesn’t always mean free.” While newspaper ads offering free puppies are quite common, they might not always be as good of a deal as they seem.

“If you want to be frugal and make the most economical choice, go for one that has the most veterinarian work done,” Chandler said. “Shelter adoptions or rescue adoptions invest in their pets prior to the adoption.”
At LMAS, male dogs can be adopted for $40 and females for $65. Animals 5.5 months and older will be spayed and neutered before they leave the shelter. Those who adopt younger animals will receive vouchers for the work to be done once the pet reaches age.
The shelter currently has 48 dogs. While Chandler said she would love to adopt one dog every day, she says the shelter strives for quality adoptions, which they utilize a screening process to accomplish.
“I want commitments – lifetime commitments,” Chandler said. “I want to know when I sign off on an adoption and go to bed at night, I have done everything right to make sure that animal will be cared for.”
To contact the LMAS, call 256-234-5533. Check out their Facebook page or follow them on Instagram at LakeMartinAnimalShelter to view current animals available for adoption.