On Oct. 1, Mississippi Critterz, Oxford’s first no-kill animal shelter in almost three decades was established. The shelter, which currently holds a year-long contract with the Board of Aldermen, will only take animals from the Oxford and Lafayette County area. The new shelter will use the same facilities as the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society, Oxford’s previous animal shelter that was forced to shut down due to overcrowding. Until the establishment can open to the public on Oct. 17, the animals are being housed in an emergency services trailer on the grounds.
Following the shutdown of the OLHS, the new plan for Mississippi Critterz is a considerably safer and simpler way to house the animals in the Oxford and Lafayette area. Previously, approximately 40 percent of animals brought into the OLHS were euthanized. The shelter also brought in animals not only from the surrounding area, but also from the rest of the state and parts of Tennessee. By focusing solely on local animals, the shelter will be able to make a bigger impact on the community. This also prevents the shelter from facing the same challenge of overcrowding OLHS experienced.
Many new and improved safety measures are being taken to fully ensure the safety of the animals. According to The Oxford Eagle, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors voted to make it illegal to drop animals off at the animal shelter after hours, something that has been a considerable issue before.
“It has always been dangerous for people to drop off the animals when the shelter is closed, but right now with all that construction going on it would be a real problem,” Alderman Janice Antonow said.
The shelter is also working with the city and county to increase funding for the shelter. It has requested nearly $62,000 more than was previously given to the OLHS yearly. It is clear that the shelter is prioritizing the animals’ comfort and safety and will be a substantial improvement from the OLHS.
The shelter will still rely on ample support from the Oxford and Lafayette community to volunteer, adopt and ensure that all of Oxford’s animals are spayed and neutered to prevent excessive animals on the streets. This has been the leading cause of overcrowded shelters in Mississippi, as Mississippi’s residents statistically have their animals spayed or neutered less frequently, according to the organization Mississippi Spay and Neuter. However, the shelter will require that all animals that pass through its doors get the surgery. Many measures will be taken to ensure the animals’ quality of life and safety is guaranteed. Mississippi Critterz has the pets’ best interest in mind and will continue the make Oxford/Lafayette County pets safe and sheltered.
Alyssa Moncrief is a freshman political science and journalism major from Jackson.