Picayune In Desperate Need Of A New Animal Shelter

The Pearl River County Animal Shelter euthanizes about 4,000 dogs and cats every year. If that number sounds alarming, the reason why might really sink your heart.

The shelter, located in Picayune, is not big enough to house the growing number of animals brought to the facility each day.

On top of that, workers say the old building is literally falling apart. But there are plans in the works to build a new shelter.

"We get in over 5,000 animals a year in this tiny shelter. And what happens is we have to put good adoptable animals down that we wouldn't have to do if we had more space," Shelter Director Maria Diamond said.

The shelter has cage space for 28 dogs. Right now there are 47 housed there, with some cages holding as many as four dogs. Every inch of space is being utilized.

"This used to be a closet, a storage room, and now we're having to put extra cages in there and it's filled up," Diamond explained.

Her words were echoed by co-worker Carla Gerrard.

"The shelter that we have here is under 2,300 square feet. The building itself is old. There are plenty of problems here."

Gerrard pointed to problems like rotting wood, poor plumbing, and a leaky roof.

"We get rats and mice in the ceiling that come down through the holes. We also have leaks when it rains. This old building has been here since the 50s and it's just not adequate for what we have today," Diamond said.

There are plans to build a new 10,000 square foot shelter, maybe in the Industrial Park, for $1.3 million. Fund raising efforts are already underway.

"We absolutely have to have a new shelter."

The plan is to come up with the funds to build the shelter through grants, through the City and County, and through donations. If you'd like to contribute to the building fund, call the shelter at (601) 798-8000.

by Al Showers