Dear Editor:

On Friday, April 29, the Shelby County Animal Shelter celebrated the grand opening of its brand new 6,600-square-foot facility. The new shelter is both animal-friendly and people-friendly, and includes a modern ventilating system, a meeting room where potential adopters can get to know their pets, and sanitary, comfortable facilities for the animals.

Even before the new facility was built, Shelby County had received national recognition for its animal control program. Under the guidance of shelter director Monica Robinson, a dedicated and compassionate staff of employees and volunteers give the animals a new chance at finding a loving forever home. Every dog is given a name upon arriving at the shelter. Volunteers assist in grooming, walking and socializing the dogs, as well as networking with rescue groups around the country. Shelby County also conducts an active spay/neuter program.

The Shelby County, Ky., shelter was featured in an article in the March 2006, issue of Kentucky Living magazine. According to the article, “The shelter has enjoyed political support in the county, has involved itself in the community, makes an unusual effort at working with rescues all over the country, and exceeded its goal in bringing down its kill rate.”

In 2005, the kill rate was just 25 percent. This is in stark contrast to Pulaski County, where the kill rate was 94 percent last year – one of the highest in the country.

Our shelter has been ignored by county government for years, is not involved in the community and makes no effort whatsoever at working with rescue groups. There is no spay/neuter program, and no volunteers grooming, walking and socializing the animals. The deadly parvo virus is prevalent, and threatens the lives of the few animals that make it out alive.

Like Shelby County, the Pulaski County animal shelter is a county-run facility. So, what makes the big difference, and why doesn’t our county enjoy the same level of success?

I believe that there is one major reason. In 2002, Rob Rothenberger ran for the office of county judge-executive in Shelby County. He promised the community that, if elected, he would make the animal control program a priority. He won – the animals won – the community won! Replacing the former county judge-executive with one who is caring and compassionate has made all the difference in the world for Shelby County. Perhaps Pulaski County should give it a try!

Yours Very Truly,

Connie Rakestraw

3593 Ky. 39

Somerset, KY. 42503

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