Hot Springs Village (HSV) Animal Control, an office of the HSV Police Department, and the HSV Animal Welfare League (AWL), a volunteer-led organization, are currently facing high numbers of animals in their care due to an increase to the number of strays reported this summer. While stray pets found inside the HSV gates should be surrendered to Animal Control, stray pets found outside HSV gates should be surrendered to the appropriate county agencies.
For years, the HSV Property Owners’ Association (POA) has worked cooperatively with AWL to provide care and veterinary treatment for pets picked up within the Village as stray/abandoned animals or surrendered pets. Animal Control officers pick up strays, clean and feed animals in the shelter, and transfer pets to AWL for adoption. AWL volunteers feed and clean pets in the adoption center side of the shelter. In 2016, the POA and AWL committed to a “No-Kill” status: only those animals deemed unadoptable (too ill/injured or too aggressive) are euthanized and all others are kept until adopted. This commitment means that the POA and AWL must feed, provide veterinary care, and house each animal indefinitely until adopted.
At this writing, AWL has 124 animals: only 33 are in the shelter, and the remaining 91 are in foster homes or out on approval. Because the POA and AWL have limited resources of personnel, funds, and space for housing, both have a finite “capacity to care.” This summer the number of strays increased tremendously causing a strain on all resources, especially on personnel and lack of space. This is the challenge facing all shelters: caring for so many. “No-Kill” shelters cannot accept all when they have reached their capacity. Both the POA and AWL hope to continue to save them all, but they need the public’s help. The public is asked not to pick up pets wandering outside HSV—most are not lost but are unleashed rural pets. Surrendering animals that were picked up outside HSV gates strains HSV Animal Control and AWL’s limited resources and threatens the current “No-Kill” status held by these organizations. Strays found outside HSV gates should be handled by the counties in which they are found.
The Police Department is proud of the dedication of its Animal Control office and the HSV Animal Welfare League to the wellbeing of pets and stray or abandoned animals in the Village. Members of the public are asked to be sensitive to existing limitations and help continue the life-saving work of these organizations.