With an animal neglect discovery, the Lake Martin Animal Shelter has taken in 30 cats and dogs in very poor health. Some of the animals were so bad off they had to be euthanized but the ones that can possibly be saved need medical attention, spay and neuter. They also must be fed and brought back to health. The shelter needs Purina kitten and puppy chows. 

You might wonder why they would feed grown animals kitten and puppy food. The kitten and puppy formulas are nutrient dense and will provide much-needed nutrients and calories to the animals. The shelter also needs cash donations to cover the cost of medical treatments and neuter and spay surgeries so these animals can be eventually be offered for adoption to loving homes.  

Animal neglect is an ugly thing. We can only be grateful this situation was addressed.  Sometimes people just don’t care and mistreat animals. Other times, what started out as a loving situation becomes neglect because people are overwhelmed when their financial circumstances change or their health changes and they can no longer afford to care for the animals. They don’t reach out to others for help because they feel ashamed or don’t want people to know for fear of judgment. We shouldn’t assume they don’t care but rather somehow things took a wrong turn.  

We should be grateful we have Mia Chandler as the director of our shelter. She is a kind and compassionate person and her love of animals is readily apparent. She goes out of her way to save animals others might give up on. She doesn’t have a large budget, but she works miracles with what she does have. 

Donations play a big part in helping her save animals. Even the smallest amount donated can make a big difference. Perhaps you have seen donation stations here and there for a bag of dog food or cat food. You may not think those donations will make a difference, but they do because month after month dogs and cats need to be fed while they wait for their forever homes.  Cleaning supplies are also needed, especially bleach, but you can check with the shelter for the products it needs. When you are doing your weekly grocery shopping, get an extra bottle of bleach or some other cleaning supply for the shelter. Consider it your random act of kindness.

Animal overpopulation is a problem and one of the reasons our shelters are so frequently crowded and why some animal neglect situations happen. I understand many people say they can’t afford to have their animals spayed or neutered, but I would say to those people you can’t afford not to. 

Female dogs go into heat twice a year and have their first heat cycle at 6 to 24 months. For female cats, they have their first reproductive cycle when they reach puberty at about 6 months old. They cycle regularly from January until late fall, and an indoor cat may go into heat continuously. Unwanted kittens and puppies beget more unwanted kittens and puppies with each breeding cycle, and in my opinion breeding should be left to the professional breeders. So many unwanted litters will end up in the shelter for someone else to care for, and some of those little souls will end up being euthanized because of shelter overcrowding. It’s not a nice thought but it is reality.  

Please find it in your heart to donate to help the Lake Martin Animal Shelter deal with the influx of neglected animals, as well as those that are already there. If everyone in the community just donated a dollar, we could help Chandler get these animals well and into loving homes. The mailing address is P.O Box 634, Alexander City, 35011 and the physical address is 2502 Sugar Creek Rd. in Alexander City. 

I believe there is a special place in heaven for those who care and help those that cannot help themselves. 

Elsie Hickman is a Lake Martin resident and a regular columnist for The Outlook.