Adoption Center sees a rise in intake

The DeKalb County Animal Adoption Center began a soft opening under specific guidelines following Gov. Kay Ivey’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions in June.

The center has reopened via an appointment-based system. In order to adopt, reclaim or surrender a pet to the shelter, an appointment will be required.

The implemented measures are set to help limit the number of people in the facility and encourage social distancing.

Shelter hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to make an appointment call 256-304-0474.

The following are some of the shelter guidelines:

• No more than two humans inside the shelter at a time

• Wearing a mask is encouraged

• Maintain a six foot social distance

• If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or you are showing symptoms do not enter the shelter for any reason.

• No visitors or volunteers inside the shelter are allowed at this time.

• Only those that are planning to adopt, reclaim a lost pet or surrender pets are allowed to enter the shelter.

President of Friends of DeKalb County Animal Adoption Center Lesley Spurgin said as a volunteer, she knows the shelter staff is stocked with Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray for cleaning.

According to, Friends of DCAAC is an all-volunteer, foster-based organization, not shelter staff, whose mission is to improve visibility and increase awareness of the countless number of abandoned, homeless animals in DeKalb County. With the ultimate goal of uniting these deserving animals with a perfect family to call their own.

She said although everything is appointment based, an adoption application can be done and pre-approved for anyone interested in adopting.

Regarding any changes to the number of animals the shelter is housing right now, Spurgin said in April, the shelter number of surrendered pets had decreased due to the closure. However, as soon as they reopened, the intake numbers went back up.

“It’s very disheartening,” said Spurgin.

The number of animals rescued or dumped at the shelter is partly due to backyard breeders and puppy mills in the area, said Spurgin.

“Between the breeders and irresponsible pet owners who allow their pets to breed, the area is always inundated with pets needing homes,” she said.

Via the “buy/sell/trade pages” on social media, trade days and flea markets, puppies and kittens are continually being given away or sold.

“Unfortunately, the adoption rate never increased for DCAAC during the pandemic,” Spurgin said.

She said the euthanasia number is lower mainly because of volunteer fosters and rescue organizations who continue stepping up to help.

“The heart of the problem still needs to be addressed and corrected. Spay and neuter is responsible pet ownership,” said Spurgin.

The shelter accepts donations year-round, and at this time, they are accepting dry puppy and kitten food, spray cleaners containing bleach, disinfectant wipes, Dawn Dish Soap and sturdy chew toys.

Spurgin said Friends of DCAAC is in desperate need of foster homes.

“We supply food, crates and cover all vet care, including flea and tick prevention. You can request a foster application via email if interested,” she said.

Due to the coronavirus, various 2020 fundraisers, including the annual Run For Rescue 5K, have been canceled for this year.

Tax-deductible donations can be made via PayPal to Spurgin said donations are used to purchase vaccines, warmers and to sponsor adoptable pets.

For additional information and updates from Friends of DeKalb County Animal Adoption Center, follow them on Facebook @FriendsofDCAAC.

DeKalb County Animal Adoption Center is located at 2601 Jordan Road SW in Fort Payne.

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