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Sheltered Lives: One Dog's Potential Leads to Hope for Others
By Jennifer Lenain
Jan 15, 2013, 17:03

Milo, an eight-month-old terrier mix is now available for adoption at the Hancock County Animal Shelter. Shelter officials are hopeful that a recent increase in adoptions will continue so that fewer animals will have to be euthanized in future.

Shelter Director Toni Accardo adopted Remi, a one-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, and is training her to be a search-and-rescue dog.

Tails are wagging at the Hancock County Animal Shelter (HCAS) because adoption rates are up and could stay that way with the community's help and because of the expected success of an ordinary dog with extraordinary abilities.
According to shelter statistics, the rate of intake at HCAS is a monthly average of 150 animals, which is considerably high for this area.
HCAS, located on Texas Flat Road in Kiln, currently has four full-time employees, said Director Toni Necaise Accardo, "and we are in desperate need for more volunteers to keep the animals in house for longer periods of time."
Volunteers are desperately needed on weekdays for on-site assistance and weekends to help promote adoptable dogs at Petsmart in Gulfport, Accardo said.
HCAS will have adoptable pets at Petsmart for the National Adoption Week, Feb. 18 through 24, Accardo said.
Currently, HCAS is running an adoption special sponsored by Friends of the Animal Shelter that applies to 20 cats and 20 dogs with half-price adoption rates costing $37.50 or less, Accardo said.
Sponsorship is also an option, said Accardo. For those who cannot have a pet of their own, but would like to help adopt a pet, a program is in place to sponsor the adoption fee for an animal at HCAS.
Accardo, a member of the Mississippi Animal Rescue Team (MART) and the Louisiana Search and Rescue Team (LSART), recently recruited a new member to the MART and LSART teams from HCAS. Remi, a one-year-old yellow lab, came in to the shelter in December and instantly caught Accardo's eye, she said. Remi displayed traits of dogs used for search and rescue, Accardo said.
According to Accardo, Remi starts training next week to become a FEMA-certified cadaver dog.
Accardo and Remi will work as a team whenever a cadaver dog is needed in the area, she said.
Special dogs like Remi pass through the shelter year round, waiting for their chance to be adopted, Accardo said.
HCAS will continue to provide animals with homes in 2013 with expectations of joining Petsmart's Rescue Wagon program that moves less-adoptable pets shelters with a low intake rate to prevent euthanasia, Accardo said.
On Jan. 19, HCAS will be hosting a rabies and microchip clinic from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.. Vaccinations will be $5 and microchips will be $20.
Spay and neuter vouchers are also available at HCAS. Photos of available pets and dates of events can be found on the Hancock Shelter Facebook page.


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