In the first comprehensive study of conditions and compliance with state shelter laws in over two decades, researchers at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Department of Veterinary Science said McCracken and Hopkins counties made their list of the 18 best shelters.
Researchers determined these shelters appear to be doing a good job of meeting state requirements and providing other essential services such as adoption, spay/neuter programs and basic veterinary care to incoming animals.
On the other side of the spectrum, a list of 26 shelters that need the most help includes Ballard, Caldwell, Crittenden, Fulton, and Carlisle counties.
Researchers found and visited 92 shelters serving Kentucky's 120 counties, and found that lack of sufficient funding was the biggest problem identified by most shelter workers. Other significant problems were pet overpopulation leading to overcrowding at shelters, insufficient work force and a lack of education.
Many shelter workers said they just don’t have proper training in proper animal handling, sanitation and disease control. Without funding, it’s hard to provide that training.
Researchers recommended that more free education be provided. This would give county officials and volunteers access to resources they need to do their jobs and to protect the animals and people who care for them.
After the last study of Kentucky shelters, the Humane Shelter Act required all counties to come into compliance with new statutes by 2007, but no formal follow-up studies had tested that progress.
The study documented what is being done at successful animal control programs so this information can be shared with other counties, particularly those with similar population and financial demographics.
The full report is available online at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/misc/2016_KY_shelter_study_report.pdf.
Aimee Nielson, a writer for UK Ag News, contributed information used in this story.
On the Net:Complete Report from UK College of Agriculture