Hurricane Victims Overcrowd Shelters - Animal Shelters

Dothan's three major animal advocacy groups - the Dothan Animal Shelter, the Wiregrass Humane Society, and Save a Pet - have taken in over 600 cats and dogs as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The three groups share the same lot, and have set up a make-shift staging area for these animals, basically two large tents with giant fans to keep the pets cool.

While volunteers have come from all over to alleviate staff members, there's still a lot of work ahead.

Its not easy to saying no to a puppy face, and that’s why Jennifer Rowan wants you to make a visit to Dothan’s Wiregrass Humane Society, where you'll find nearly 300 animals displaced by this busy hurricane season.

"I've never seen an animal control with such commitment," said Rowan.

And she should know. The volunteer comes to Dothan from Florida, where she spent all of last summer assisting shelters in that area.

But Rowan puts Dothan on a pedestal because these pets are being housed outside, they have to be, the facilities for Save a Pet, the Dothan Animal Shelter, and the Humane Cociety have all run out of space.

So while the best thing you can do is adopt - the next best thing is to volunteer. You can help clean the kennels, or just show the pets a little TLC.

Taking a dog for a walk or playing with kittens is just as important to the recovery process, Rowan said. It’s not just, "here's your food, here's your medication, see ya later."

And what’s best of all, Rowan says, volunteering won't feel like work - unless you find your work to be very gratifying.

"Come help us, come share your expertise. And you'll have one of the most rewarding experiences of your life."

If you want to lend a hand to any of these organizations, you can call the Dothan Animal Shelter at 615-4620 or the Wiregrass Humane Society at 792-6693.