Suwannee Democrat

Local News

June 3, 2013

City of Live Oak: Shelter animals need good homes

Live Oak — When most people think about where to go to adopt a pet in Suwannee County, it’s usually to an animal shelter outside of town. However, there’s another option right here in the middle of Live Oak - the City of Live Oak Shelter.

The shelter is run by the Live Oak Police Department and is staffed by one person, animal control officer Wayne Hunter. He rounds up to 250 animals every month, the majority of which are dogs and cats that are taken into the shelter located off Lime Avenue, near the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Various local rescue groups come in weekly to photograph the dogs and cats to show them off online. Those animals that receive the most responses are then chosen to be put up for adoption and taken to the rescue’s shelter where they are given shots and vaccinations. This is sadly not the reality for most of the animals.

There are countless innocent strays as well as those animals that can’t be saved, such as those that have bitten people or have too many health problems. Nearly 80 percent of the dogs and cats that are taken in have to be euthanized. 
“It’s not an easy job, and you never get used to it. But overpopulation is a real problem, and you can’t keep every animal,” Hunter said.

Hunter is the sole officer and caretaker for the pound animals, and he’s worked with Live Oak animal control for nearly six years. 
“The adoption rate is very low. Ninety percent of the animals we get are just unwanted,” Hunter said.

According to Live Oak’s Finance Director, Jan Parkhurst, the year to date expenditures for the animal control program as of Wednesday were $43,906. 
Hunter said a lot of the money goes towards utilities and maintenance for the small, shaded outdoor facility. One huge cost that animal control saves on is food. Hunter receives free ripped or broken dog and cat food bags from a pet food distribution warehouse in Jacksonville.

The shelter can’t accept any volunteers or donations due to animal control being a city service, but adoptions are encouraged and are only $15. Many of the dogs and cats that arrive at the pound are simply the victims of pet overpopulation and are in need of a good home. You can contact animal control through the LOPD at 386-362-7463 if you are interested in adoption or need animal control services.


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