|Top-Rated Animal Shelters|
Animal Shelters, Rescue Organizations
4200 Brooke Avenue
Gadsden, AL 35904
The HSEC was formed in 1973, with Richard Malone, a former Alabama State Representative and Dr. James Isbell, a local veterinarian, as two charter members who are still affiliated with us. Cindy Forsman and Pat Martin joined soon after and are current members until 2005 when Cindy Forsman sadly resigned. Mary Camp a bookkeeper at the time, was the President of the Board in the late ’70s and was an instrument in acquiring our 501(c)(3) status.
Our original goal was to become an alternative to the City Dog Pound, which was wretched. We had a donated panel truck and several volunteers who picked up strays and unwanted animals and took them to neighboring counties’ shelters, in particular Calhoun County. Later we rented a variety of buildings: a lawnmower repair shop, an empty house next to Mary Stewart’s animal clinic in Rainbow City, a “building” under Broad Street Bridge, and finally, a facility in Burns Park behind what is now Public Wholesale.
It was the condition of the Burns Park location that prompted Louis Kitchens, then President, to find out what the budget was for the City Dog Pound. She went to the City Council with a proposal for us to take over at nearly a 50% savings to the city and they accepted. The shelter was opened at 1700 Chestnut Street in a city owned building, which was furnished to us in exchange for a portion of their contract amount. Agreements were subsequently made with Attalla, Rainbow City, Southside, and Etowah County. The HSEC no longer picks up stray animals (an Animal Control function) but does assist in cruelty investigations and houses all animals brought in by the public, strays, and cruelty cases brought by Animal Control.
In 1994, the Board of Directors had become mostly inactive with the exception of Louis Kitchens, the President. Dr Janderlich moved back to the area and visited the shelter to offer his services and advice since he had been active at the Humane Society in Georgia. He was distressed by the overcrowding, disease, and unsanitary conditions, which had developed without management or Board oversight.
Cindy Forsman made many follow-up calls to shelter visitors and worked to address complaints with the President. When no improvements were made, a new election was held and a Manager and employees were replaced. A clean-up was initiated and conditions were turned around. Vicki Meeks, our current Director, was hired and hands-on, working board members were installed. We began a semi-annual newsletter, low-income spay/neuter program, membership drive, a fund-raising program, a humane education program, an intensive PR campaign, and an ongoing education/training plan for our employees.
By 2000, Board Members were seriously shopping for a new building site as the shelter, a former City paint shop, deteriorated beyond repair. An architect was hired and floor plans were submitted to the Board. In February 2004, the Gadsden Industrial Developmental Board deeded us 5.18 acres on Brooke Avenue. Board Members, shelter employees and volunteers worked diligently to ensure we met our financial goals.
In June of 2007, construction started and due to good weather and hard work the new facility on Brooke Avenue was opened to the public Jan 2, 2008. Without the generosity of donors and support from the community this dream would have never happened. The Board members and staff thankfully open the doors to the citizens of our community the 2- legged and 4-legged alike!
| ||Animal Shelters:|
Humane Society of Etowah County