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Animal owners must get the message

By Staff
BIG, WET ONE Lois Porter gets a special kiss from one of the dogs at Lauderdale County's animal shelter. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By William F. West / community editor
July 14, 2002
Lots of people are working to solve the problem of homeless and unwanted animals in Meridian and Lauderdale County.
Employees of the animal shelter. City and county leaders who commit money and resources to the shelter. Volunteers who have formed a humane society. Even Wal-Mart pitches in, donating bags of dog food that have been ripped or damaged.
But Dewayne Sosebee, the county's animal control director, says the problem cannot be solved not really solved until people who own animals take action. What does that mean? You've heard it since grade school. It means spaying and neutering pets.
The animal shelter
The Lauderdale County animal shelter is at 501 Cooper Ave. in Meridian. It is designed to hold about 80 animals, but Sosebee said there are sometimes more than 100.
An addition should be completed by the end of the year. Sosebee said it will hold up to 200 animals. He plans to use the new building for injured, sick or stray animals, and convert the current building into an adoption agency.
Sosebee has worked in animal control for the city for about 11 years. He's been running the shelter for about eight years first for the city, and now for the county.
He oversees six employees three city animal control officers, a county patrolman who works with him and two animal control officers who stay at the shelter to receive animals as they are dropped off and, on a good day, process adoptions.
The shelter has three pickup vehicles and the county patrol truck. It's a busy place. Sosebee said the shelter averages about 16 calls a day from city resident, mostly about stray dogs and dead animals. The dead animals are taken to the landfill.
Sosebee said calls from the county are mostly about annoying dogs.
Teaming up
Sosebee said he is considering a partnership with the Humane Society, whose volunteers come in if they think they can arrange to have an animal spayed or neutered making it more "adoptable."
Sosebee said the shelter, the Humane Society and Wal-Mart have teamed up with the American Humane Society in a nationwide adoption program.
Sosebee is vice president of the state organization for animal control.
People make a difference
Shelter employees are there because they care.
Lois Porter, 36, of Clarke County, has been an animal control officer for only a few days. Before that, she repossessed cars.

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