According to Stephenville Humane Society shelter manager, Judy Hallmark, animals are heading out to families and rescue volunteers at a brisk pace this summer.

“A few weeks ago, we had over 40 cats and kittens and now we’re down to 10. As for dogs, we only have two available for adoption right now," she said. "People have really been stepping up, especially the volunteer rescue groups like Erath County’s CTAG.”

Another reason the kitten population is down is the proliferation of snakes this year, she said. A newborn kitten is natural prey for several varieties of snakes, and no mother cat is a match for a rattler.

Hallmark pointed out that there are a lot of misconceptions about the Humane Society shelter, not all of them positive.

“First of all, we don’t have a set time to put an animal down here," she said. "A lot of people think it’s three days, but that time limits is about when an animal is brought in and when it becomes our property and not the former owner’s. After three days, if an animal isn’t claimed by the owner, it becomes our property, but that doesn’t mean we automatically euthanize them at that point. We have no limit on how long we’ll keep an animal if we believe it’s adoptable.”

She says they have had dogs in the shelter as long as six or seven months that were eventually adopted.

She goes on to explain that this doesn’t mean it’s a no-kill shelter. If a dangerous, or ill animal - especially one with a contagious disease - comes in, that may leave no option but to euthanize. “We’re not just a shelter; we have a pound function with the city and county, and we’re inspected by the Department of Health regularly.”

There are also legal regulations to which they must comply regarding feral animals and other specific situations.

The shelter depends heavily on donations.

“Some money comes to us from those city and county contracts, but aside from that, we depend entirely on donations," Hallmark said. "That fluctuates of course, so sometimes it gets tight. The thing is, we provide vital services to the community here, including quarantine of animals. So we’re not just a shelter, we’re a pound as well, and everyone benefits from the services we provide. What we do here is really important and we can use all the financial support from people we can get. ”

For more information on the Stephenville Humane Society call 254-965-3247. Shelter hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.