The Walker County Animal Shelter has significantly reduced the number of animals being euthanized, Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said.

"We've made great improvements in that area on both dogs and cats," the commissioner reported at his Nov. 30 commissioner's meeting. "There are some animals, just due to age and health, that have to be euthanized. It's just part of the process we have to deal with, unfortunately. But I believe you will see on our year-to-date totals, we are running about 50 percent of euthanized animals of what we had last year."

Whitfield credited the shelter staff, local rescue operations and community support volunteers for the improvement. "We still have work to do," he added.

In September, the shelter's adoption/rescue/return-to-owner tally was 19 dogs and 8 cats, with 33 dogs euthanized and 57 cats euthanized.

October proved to be better with 75 dogs and 37 cats either adopted out, rescued or returned to owner, while euthanizations dropped to 11 dogs and 36 cats.

In 2016, there were 817 dogs and 195 cats either adopted out, rescued or returned to owner. As for euthanizations for 2016, there were 436 dogs euthanized and 630 cats euthanized.

Compare those statistics to the 2017 year-to-date data, which shows 711 dogs and 289 cats either adopted out, rescued or returned to owner. Thus far in 2017 year-to-date, there have been 231 dogs and 309 cats euthanized.

Adopt-A-Thon is Dec. 16

The shelter recently announced an Adopt-A-Thon set for Saturday, Dec. 16, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The shelter announced on its Facebook page the following:

"We are excited to announce we are having another Adopt-A-Thon this year. We will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday December 16, 2017. The shelter will have special adoption prices. Dogs will be $30 and cats will be $15. The fee includes spay/neuter and a rabies vaccine. Santa will be there from 2-5 p.m. taking pictures with your pets, so bring them too. We would LOVE to see every animal adopted by Christmas! Please help by "sharing" this event."

To learn more about the Walker County Animal Shelter, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WalkerCountyGAAnimalShelter/, or at the county website at http://www.walkerga.us/Services/Animal-Shelter.aspx.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.