Animal Harbor’s Executive Director Emily Holland recently presented the Jeane Patton Humanitarian award to Heather Snyder.
Snyder, who serves Franklin County as an animal control officer, was presented with the award at the Wine, Whiskers and Fancy Treats event held at La Bella Pearl in Sewanee.
Snyder’s job is never dull, and is in fact often sad, but hopeful.
A typical day might include requests for welfare checks, injured animals, barking dogs, strays in the neighborhood, a litter of kittens under the porch, vet runs, preparing animals for transport to new homes, feeding and cleaning and tackling paperwork at home in the evenings.
It is not true that all animals picked up by Animal Control are immediately euthanized.
In fact, since Snyder started working there in January of 2016, Animal Control has worked consistently to adopt the animals to community members and to develop a transport program which takes dogs and cats to areas of the country where good, healthy, adoptable companion animals are scarce.
Out of a total of 682 dogs that have been taken in, only 37 had to be euthanized, and of the 343 cats, only 48 were euthanized and mainly for serious illness or severe injuries.
This is a 93.25 percent save rate for the dogs, and an 83.1 percent rate for the cats.
“Compare that to what Heather faced in 2016, when euthanasia took place once or twice weekly,” said Animal Harbor Board of Directors Secretary Susan Rupert. “Now, that happens there only once or twice a month, a record that deserves our recognition and support.”
Snyder has spent thousands of hours and dollars in building a barn on her property where animals can be held before being transported to ensure that all of them will find loving homes.
“Her dedication is legendary among Middle Tennessee shelters and rescue groups,” Rupert said.
One of Snyder’s best memories involves 10 hound dogs which were rescued from terrible neglect and starvation.
Two of them had been given to the abuser by a couple who thought the dogs were going to a good home. When they heard the story, they contacted Snyder and found that the dogs were indeed alive.
“Being able to reunite those dogs with their former family was a great moment,” Snyder said.
The other eight hounds all found kind, caring homes as well.
“We are proud to work with Animal Control in educating the public about the important advances they have achieved, about better care and humane treatment for animals and about how their officers serve Franklin County in some very difficult circumstances,” Rupert said. “It is an honor to partner with Heather and the other officers—Junior Lafevers, Justin Isbell and Brent Perry, chief deputy at Animal Control, to give companion animals a second chance for a good life in a loving home.”
About Animal Harbor
Animal Harbor is operated by members of The Franklin County Humane Society and is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Its mission is to provide healthcare and temporary shelter for lost and homeless companion animals; find new loving homes for these pets; reduce pet overpopulation by promoting spaying and neutering; promote animal welfare through education; and maintain a no-kill policy except for reasons of mercy or dangerous temperament.
Animal Harbor is located at 56 Nor-Nan Road, Winchester, just off AEDC Road (Hwy. 127). For more information, call the AH office at 931-962-4472.
Visit www.animalharbor.org for more information.