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County wants to get good word on shelter out
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Effingham County animal shelter adoption coordinator Bill Cowan gives some attention to one of the shelters feline residents. - photo by File photo

Effingham County officials are wondering how best to get the word out about the work being done by the animal shelter.

Commissioners and county staff discussed how to respond to a letter and a Facebook post questioning the shelter.

“There are positive things happening,” county community relations director Adam Kobek said. “There needs to be more public outreach.”

Added county administrator Toss Allen: “We have to do a better job of getting the message out. I think the shelter is doing a pretty good job.”

Pictures of the cats and dogs at the shelter, which are used to show what animals are available for adoption, are taken routinely.

“We encourage pictures. We share our pictures with several rescue groups,” Kobek said. “We encourage picture taking to take place on the play patio, which was recently painted by a rescue group, or in the lobby.”

Kobek said the shelter is clean and is kept in the state by an inmate work crew. He said there have been instances where an animal has been brought in before being seen by a veterinarian and that animal is found to have mange.

He also said the county’s animal shelter partners with two rescue groups that also run pictures of shelter denizens. There is also a folder on the animal shelter’s Web site dedicated to found animals, which is updated with some animals’ pictures being moved to the folder of adoptable animals on the site, Kobek added.

Allen said the Web site can be difficult to navigate.

“We need a better a Web site,” he said. “We need to communicate our message.”

Kobek added there are other improvements at the shelter. The shelter has raised more than $4,000 for enhancements. There also is a new nursery for pet mothers and babies and a sick and well room for animal quarantine.

Adoption coordinator Bill Cowan did seven presentations in November alone on the shelter, Kobek said. There were 43 pets returned to their owners in November, compared to three for the same time in 2013.

“We are increasing adoptions. We are decreasing euthanizations,” Allen said. “We have a supply of blankets and food.”

There were 56 pets adopted out in October, compared to 24 for October 2013, according to Kobek.

Allen said the pets up for adoption run in the newspaper and also appear on PetFinder. But there are even county employees who don’t know what’s happening at the shelter and what is available there.

“If someone in the administration building doesn’t know we’re doing that, how does a citizen know that?” he said. “That tells me we are not communicating our message as well as we should be.”

The county is advertising for a new shelter manager.