A press conference is called by the City of Huntsville. The public is invited to attend. Media outlets are there. At a podium stand Mayor Tommy Battle, City Administrator John Hamilton and Huntsville Animal Services Director Dr. Karen Hill Sheppard. They are accompanied by a host of local public officials, public figures, animal rescuers and animal advocates, some of whom have leashed dogs with them. And the press conference begins.
Mayor Battle announces that a decision has been made to make Huntsville and the Madison County region a “No Kill Community.” He tells all those present that after some soul searching and networking with people across the country, the city has decided it is no longer going to destroy healthy and treatable animals using our tax dollars because doing so is just not consistent with our culture, with the values in our community and with the values in our country. He says that there is much work to be done. That making this transition will take the support of the entire community but that he and city leaders have decided to draw a line in the sand and take a leap of faith that we can, and must, do this for the sake of the people who live and work here and for the sake of the animals we say we love. We are already known as a great place to live and work and we have an impressive resume as a community, but we want to add the description "No Kill Community" to our list of attributes. Mayor Battle goes on to say that he is convinced we can do this because so many other communities have taken this step before us. We are the Star of Alabama. The Heart of the Tennessee Valley. We are smart, progressive and creative. And we will lead the way for our state and show that we can save the lives of animals which are homeless or lost while saving tax dollars in the process.
This is our vision. This is our goal.
The members of No Kill Huntsville banded together to speak with one voice for the sake of our community. We support and promote the No Kill Equation because it has been proven to work in every community where it has been fully implemented. It balances public safety with animal welfare and fiscal responsibility. It’s just a smarter way to use our existing resources, it does not take increased cost output and saving the lives of animals stimulates our local economy.
It is a decision. It is a choice. Please join us as we seek to make this vision our reality.
Our vision has been partially realized. The city will not be holding a press conference to announce its intention to become a No Kill Community. In fact, the City of Huntsville prefers not to use the phrase "No Kill" at all. Due to the progress at the shelter, there have been incidents of people bringing animals into Huntsville and Madison County from outlying areas just to keep them alive because the other areas around us are not quite as progressive. Having said that, the city has maintained a live release rate for both dogs and cats above 90% for the last three years and we see no reason why that trend will not continue. The City also enacted Ordinance 2018-952 on November 1st, 2018 which codifies its intentions regarding operation of the animal shelter and animal welfare in the City of Huntsville. In addition to this ordinance, we are told that changes are being made to shelter policies which will help maximize life-saving within the facility.