The Advertiser Gleam

At this week's meeting of the Marshall County Commission, it became so clear that “talk is cheap.” There had been a lot of talking over the past year about moving forward with an animal shelter for the county.

I am a transplant to Guntersville and truly love it here. I am active as an animal rescuer and transporter of rescued animals to either adopters or shelters in Northern states. And even before moving here, I rescued animals.

However, where I lived before, my involvement was finding lost animals and successfully reuniting them with their owners. Alabama gave me a new perspective on rescue, both in volume and in tenor. It is overwhelming the sheer numbers of abandoned animals I and others encounter on a daily basis and we work as hard as we can to give these abandoned and oftentimes abused animals a chance.

Since moving here, I was aware that Marshall County did not have a shelter. Fast forward from this past year into the current year, many of us thought it would finally happen. Our current Commission Chair often said that was one of his priorities (the jail being another). Well, he has gotten an $8 million dollar jail renovation which is underway now.

The animal shelter has not fared as well. After numerous plan downsizings, it finally went out to bid with one bidder responding at $922,748 with the option of adding $40,000. When the Chairman asked for a motion, there was total silence among all four commissioners and it lasted which seemed to be less than a minute.

Then one commissioner spoke up and you could tell it was difficult for him but he stated that he had given his word and could not back away and he asked for a motion to go ahead and approve the rebid  and award the contract. Again, silence than stretched a long time. It was then interrupted by Chairman Hutchison who provided a verbal reporting on “how well the current animal shelter was doing” with adoptions, citing a 94% rate of animals that were not put to sleep and his words implied that the shelter was doing just fine as it is.

The shelter is not doing just fine. It has one Animal Control Officer who is rarely ever at the shelter; another part-time person who really is the one at the shelter, helping to adopt animals. Many dogs languish there for lack of attention; there are no volunteers to help socialize dogs.

This past year’s stats show 435 intakes (strays and surrenders) and only 63 adoptions, 29 reclaimed dogs. The majority of dogs are presumably moved into other rescue shelters usually out of state. 

When I talk to people about their dogs, I so often hear that their dog was adopted from a shelter and it is wonderful news. But the current shelter representing Marshall County is not conducive to adoptions. One wonderful lady who works part-time is doing her best to give affection to the dogs that end up at this shelter and see to their needs. We need more people like her!

When you visit the Facebook Page for Marshall County Animal Control, an address shows as 424 Blount Ave. That is not the shelter; it is the County Courthouse. The shelter address seems to be the best kept secret as to its location but it is on Abbott Road which is directly across the street from Team Nissan of Albertville off Hwy 431 South.

I urge anyone to decide for themselves about our current county shelter by driving to it and check it out. If you come away feeling that there could be something better, then let your county commissioners know. The district commissioners’ names and contact information are available on this website link.


Sharron George

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