Frequently Asked Questions

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Lost and Missing Pets

I lost my pet, how do I know if it is at Animal Care and Control?

CALL
You may call 205-591-6522.
We will try to determine if an animal fitting the description was picked up and impounded. Please be mindful that it is very difficult to identify mixed breed animals due to discrepancies and variations in descriptions. The best way to ensure the safe return of your lost animal is to ensure that your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags, a rabies tag, and has been micro-chipped. If the animal is wearing tags, the owner will be notified within 24 hours.
COME TO THE OFFICES
At 6227 5th Avenue North during public business hours. If it is after 7 days, we will also call our Snow Drive facility to see if your pet has been transferred there for adoption.
GO TO OUR WEBSITE
You may go to www.gbhs.org to see photographs of impounded animals. We do not post photographs of animals that are being held under the authority of local law enforcement.
We will post photographs of all animals not involved in cruelty investigations and cruelty charges within 24-hours of impoundment.
Please remember, animals will sometimes lose their tags or have them removed by someone. Even if your animal leaves home wearing a collar and tags, there is always a chance the collar may not be on when the animal is picked up. Stray, rescued and loose animals that are picked up are held for seven days. Animals involved in a bite must be quarantined for 10 days.

What does it cost to get my pet out of impoundment?

Jefferson County requires us to charge citizens to reclaim their pets. Jefferson County sets the fee schedule for reclaiming your animal. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society nor Animal Care and Control does not keep any of the fees charged for reclaiming. We are required to forward all reclaim fees to Jefferson County. We accept cash, credit or debit cards as a payment method. Please see the Jefferson County fee schedule.

What do I need to bring with me to reclaim my pet?

We must ensure that we do everything we can to release pets to their rightful owners. This is especially important since some dealers in animals look for animals to sell for purposes that our organization fights against.
In order to reclaim a pet that has been impounded you must have the following with you:
• Required reclaim fee (Cash, Credit Card or Debit Card; no checks accepted.)
• A legal form of identification
• Proof of ownership (any one of the following):
• Vet records
• Picture of you and your pet
• Signed statement from a neighbor or relative
* • Collar and leash or carrier. No animal will be allowed to leave our facility without being leashed or confined to a carrier.
• Evidence of rabies vaccination.

What if I can’t afford the fee?

All fines must be paid in order to reclaim your pet.

When can I pick up my pet from Animal Care and Control?

Pets that have proof of rabies vaccination can be picked up any time during normal business hours. If you cannot provide proof of rabies vaccination, your pet can only be picked up after 1:00pm on Monday – Friday because it will have to be vaccinated before it can leave our facility. The vaccination will be included in your reclaim fee.

Animal Care and Control has my pet but hasn’t taken it to impoundment yet. Can I reclaim on the spot?

If you have proof of ownership and proof that the animal has a current rabies vaccination you may reclaim without being charged any fees. If you cannot produce proof of rabies vaccination, your pet will be impounded.

Animal Cruelty and Neglect Complaints

What services does Animal Care and Control provide?

We regulate uncontrolled domestic animals, assist with bites and attacks by aggressive animals (depending on the jurisdiction), investigate reports of possible animal cruelty and neglect, pick up stray animals, pick up confined strays, pick up loose animals without proper rabies identification, rescue injured animals, keep records of lost/found cats and dogs, give animal information and referrals, and promote responsible pet ownership through education.

When do I call the police to report animal abuse?

If you suspect an animal is being abused, call your local police department if you are willing to file a report. If you do not want to file a report, you can submit an anonymous report by calling us at 205-591-6522.

How do I file a complaint?

To have an Animal Control Officer respond to a complaint, call the office at 205-591-6522. Depending on your jurisdiction, a dispatcher will either send an Animal Control Officer or refer you to your local animal control officer or law enforcement agency to investigate your complaint. If the officer sees a violation when he/she arrives, appropriate action will be taken.

What constitutes “cruelty or neglect to an animal?”

• Pet owners must provide proper food, water, and adequate shelter for animals at all times.
• The animal must be fed at least once every twenty-four (24) hours and have clean, fresh, drinkable water available at all times.
• Shelter must be a structure that is adequate to provide protection from the weather and keeps the animal dry and well maintained.
• The size of the shelter must be in proportion to the size of the animal.
• Inflicting inhumane pain or suffering or failing to provide veterinary care also constitutes cruelty.
Violations should be reported by calling Animal Care and Control at 205-591-6522.

What do I do if I suspect organized animal fighting is going on in my community?

Report suspected organized animal fighting to your local law enforcement agency.

Do I have to sign anything if I call in a cruelty or neglect complaint?

If you call the complaint in to Animal Care and Control you do not have to provide your name.If it is not a complaint that we are authorized to investigate you must contact your local law enforcement agency and will most likely be asked to file a police report that you may have to sign.

Animal Care and Control Staffing

How many veterinarians provide medical care for the animals at Animal Care and Control? [1]: /as-reports

We contract with Alabama Shelter Veterinarians to provide 2 full-time veterinarians and 1 Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) for Animal Care and Control.

How many animal control officers and impoundment staff does Animal Care and Control employ?

Animal Care and Control staffing is as follows:
Animal Control Officers: 5 full-time and 1 part-time. Our animal control officers rotate on-call shifts so that we can provide 24-hour service.
Impoundment Services and Animal Care: 5 full-time and 3 part-time
Dispatch: 2 full-time
A full-time Director of Field Services A full-time Director of Impoundment

Stray Animals

What do I do if I find a stray?

If you find a stray during normal business hours, you can call 205-591-6522 and a dispatcher will respond to your call. If you find a stray and want to bring it to our facility, we ask that you come to Animal Care and Control at 6227 5th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35212.

Our Homewood location accepts owner-surrendered pets. We highly encourage strays to be brought to Animal Care & Control at 6227 5th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35212.

I found a stray but cannot bring it to you, can you meet me to pick up the stray animal?

If you are in a location that our animal control officers cover we can meet you to pick up the stray from you. (Click here to see areas we cover.)

A stray animal is an animal that you find loose and/or that you have been caring for 29 days or less.

If I find an injured stray animal, will you provide medical treatment for the injured animal?

If you are in an area in Jefferson County in which our officers do not cover you may bring that animal to our Woodlawn or Snow Drive location for medical treatment and care.

I live in unincorporated Jefferson County where there are no leash laws. If my animal is found running loose will it be picked up?

If your animal is uncontained and does not have a current rabies vaccination tag, it can be picked up by Animal Care and Control and impounded.

Can I trap stray cats or dogs that come into my yard?

Yes, as long as you use a humane trap that does not injure the animal. Depending on the jurisdiction, our officers will pickup any cat or dog caught in the trap upon notification. You must be home when the officer arrives.

Due to the threat of injury to our personnel, there are some situations involving animals that cannot be handled by the Animal Care and Control. Some services we cannot provide are climbing into attics, climbing trees, and disassembling any structures to get or remove animals. There are a few private companies in the area that provide these services, and one or more of these companies should be contacted in these situations. Costs for these services are at the home or property owner’s expense.

Do I have to sign anything if I bring a stray to you or ask you to pick up a stray in your coverage area?

Yes. You will be asked to sign a stray surrender form. You will be asked to provide identification when you sign the form.

Owner Surrenders

Do you take owner surrenders?

You may surrender a pet you own at our Woodlawn or Snow Drive facility but we prefer that owner surrenders be made at our facility on Snow Drive.

If you bring your animal to us, at either location and you live in Jefferson County you must pay a $15 fee to surrender an animal.

If we come to you to pick up your owned animal inside Jefferson County, the surrender fee is $25.

A mother and litter surrender in our location is $45 (litters under 12 weeks). A mother and litter surrender that we pick up from you in Jefferson County is $55 (litter under 12 weeks).

Owner surrenders from outside of Jefferson County are welcomed to bring their pets to either location, out-of-county surrender fee is $30 per pet or $60 for a mother and litter (12 weeks and under).

Questions Related to Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officials in need of Animal Care and Control...

Law enforcement officials in need of Animal Care and Control services should contact us at 205-591-6522 during normal business hours and dispatch will respond to the call.

After hours, if there is no Animal Control Officer employed by your municipality, Animal Care and Control will respond to your call. ACC will pick up the animal if requested. Alternatively, law enforcement can bring the animal to ACC – either to the facility at 5th Avenue North or to the Snow Drive facility.

Animal Bites

I’ve been bitten by an animal – what should I do?

All animal bites should be reported. This is a matter of public health and enforcement of these regulations is the responsibility of Animal Care and Control. Any animal that bites someone must be placed in quarantine for a 10-day period. If you or any family member are bitten, call your local law enforcement agency immediately. A police officer will respond to take a report. If medical treatment is required, the doctor or hospital providing the treatment should report the incident. Every attempt should be made to identify the animal so the owner can be contacted and the necessary paperwork completed. If a wild animal is involved and cannot be located, you will be advised on what treatment is necessary.

My animal bit someone – what do I do?

The bite should be reported by calling Animal Care and Control at 205-591-6522 or your local law enforcement agency.

The animal must be placed in quarantine for a period of 10 days. This quarantine is required even if the animal has been vaccinated for rabies. You may be able to keep the animal at your home under certain circumstances and if the animal’s rabies vaccination is current.

If you don’t have a current rabies vaccination, under certain circumstances you can either board the animal at a veterinarian’s office or have it quarantined at Animal Care and Control.

Boarding fees at veterinarians vary and are the responsibility of the animal owner. The fee for boarding an animal at Animal Care and Control is also the responsibility of the animal owner. After the bite report is completed, our veterinarian will follow up on the observation and release of the animal from quarantine at the end of the quarantine period.

Rescue Groups

 

How do I become a Rescue Partner? 

Fill out the application here.

Does Animal Care and Control partner with rescue groups?

Yes. We require rescue groups to share in our mission of humane treatment to people and animals, and they must pass an application process to be approved as Rescue Partners. (Click here to download the application to become a Rescue Partner.)

What is the fee for a rescue group to receive adoptable animals from Animal Care and Control?

We will never charge a fee to approved rescue groups for partnering with us or for the transfer of animals. Donations to offset costs are always welcomed.

Does the Greater Birmingham Humane Society partner with rescue groups?

Yes. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society is always excited to partner and work with new rescue organizations that share our mission to promote the humane treatment of people and animals.

Which rescue groups are currently approved partners to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society?

• 4 Legs 4 Justice Animal Advocate & rescue • A Better English Setter Rescue • A Diamond in The Ruff Toy Breed Rescue Inc. • A Promise of Love • Above and Beyond English Setter Rescue • Adopt A Golden Birmingham • Animal Welfare Action Group (AWAG) • Alabama Animal Adoption Society • Alabama House Rabbits Society • Alabama Parrot Rescue • Alabama Pug Rescue • Alabama SCPA • Alabama Siberian Husky Rescue • Almost Home Foundation • American Belgian Malinois Rescue Inc. • American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue • American Brittany Rescue • Australian Shepherd Furever Rescue • Azaya Ranch Sanctuary • Bama Bully Rescue • Basset Hound Rescue of Alabama • Big Fluffy Dog Rescue • Birmingham Boston Terrier Rescue • Blind Dog Rescue Alliance, Inc • Bullies 2 the Rescue- Alabama • The Canine Compassion Fund • Cavalier Rescue USA • Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief & rescue Inc. • CK Animal Rescue • Crossing Paths Animal Rescue • English Springer Spaniel Rescue of America • Eskie Rescuers United • Florida Brittany Rescue • Fluffy Dog Rescue • Friends of Rescue • German Shepherd Rescue of Central Alabama • Great Lakes Bengal Rescue • Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta • Gulf Coast Italian Greyhound Rescue • Heart of Alabama Save Rescue Adopt (HASRA) • Heidi’s Legacy Dog Rescue • Helping Shepherds of Every Color Rescue • Humane Animal Welfare Society • K9 Specialty Services of Alabama • K9 ResQ of Alabama • La Mancha Animal Rescue • Lifeline Dog Rescue (Central FL Weimaraner & Dog Rescue Inc) • Lu’s Labs • Madison Animal Rescue Foundation • Magnificent Mutts Rescue • Middle TN Boxer Rescue • National Brittany Rescue & Adoption Network • National Great Pyrenees Rescue • New Beginnings Shepherd Rescue Inc. • New England Brittany Rescue • No Greater Love Rescue • Northwest Alabama Herding Dog Rescue, Inc • Old English Sheepdog Rescue Network of the Southeast • Peace and Paws • Pound on the Hill Animal Rescue • Precious Paws Rescue Inc • Rescue K911 • Rescue Pets are Wonderful • Rose Acres Rescue • Rottie Empire Rescue • RUFF • Sanctuary Animal Rescue • Second City Canine Rescue • Southeast GSP Rescue • Southern States Mastiff Rescue • SPCA of Thompkins Co. • Spot’s Last Stop Canine Rescue • Sugarbelle Foundation • Suncoast Animal League • Tristate Basset Rescue • Vermont English Bulldog Rescue • Wags N’ Whiskers Rescue • Weimerainer Rescue of the South • West TN Border Collie Rescue • WI St. Bernard Rescue

What are the benefits of becoming a Rescue Partner?

Once approved as a rescue partner of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society’s Animal Care and Control division rescue groups benefit from the following services:
[1]: /s/GBHS_Rescue_Partners_Application.pdf [1]: /s/GBHS_Rescue_Partners_Application.pdf
• Adoptable pets that have not been transferred to Snow Drive for adoption may be transferred to any approvedRescue Partners at no charge to the rescue partner.

• All pets transferred toRescue Partners will have been spayed or neutered.

• Rescue partners may bring a stray animal into Animal Care and Control under the name of the rescue. The animal will be treated and held and after seven days be evaluated for health and temperament. If it is determined that the animal is safe for the public, then the animal will be transferred back to the Rescue Partner that brought the animal into Animal Care and Control at the request of the rescue.

• Discounted veterinary care for Rescue Partners is offered through our Rescue-Able Program. Treatments are offered at the cost to GBHS:

• Heartworm treatment (Immiticide):

• Work up and treatment includes: 3 View Thoracic Radiographs, CBC, and comprehensive chemistry profile, two immiticide injections, pre-medication pain/anti-inflammatory medications, and follow-up heartworm testing after treatment.

What does it take to become a Rescue Partner?

In order to become a Rescue Partner you must first fill out an application. (Click here to download the application to become a Rescue Partner.) Here is a list of things you will need to get started:
• Copy of your 501(c)(3) certificate

Copy of your adoption application and adoption contract

List of authorized personnel that can chose animals and enter into agreements regarding transfer of animals

List of staff or volunteers that are authorized to pick up animals

Any additional information on the Rescue Partner organization including, but not limited to: the mission statement, policies and procedures, foster information, etc.

Does the GBHS partner with rescue groups that are not 501(c)(3) organizations?

GBHS requires all Rescue Partners to maintain a status as a 501(c)(3) animal rescue or adoption organization. Any exceptions to this must be approved by the Rescue Partner Coordinator prior to GBHS releasing an animal. In these situations GBHS may ask for references from veterinary offices or other rescues.

What is the fee for a rescue group to receive adoptable animals from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society?

There is never a fee to transfer animals to our Rescue Partners. Donations to offset costs are always welcomed. While there is no charge to transfer animals to a Rescue Partner, additional fees may include a microchip fee, bordetella fee, heartworm treatment or any additional services.

How does the process work?

Once you’ve filled out the Rescue Partner application and are an approved Rescue Partner you are eligible to transfer animals to your organization. We try to make it as easy as possible for Rescue Partners to choose animals from our facility. When looking for animals to transfer to your rescue group, you can look at the stray animals housed at our Animal Care and Control facility or at our adoptable animals housed at our Adoption Center. Sometimes, our Rescue Coordinator will also reach out to individual rescue organizations in regard to specific animals.

What are the benefits of becoming a Rescue Partner?

Approved Rescue Partners benefit from the following services:

• Animals will be transferred to Rescue Partners at no charge to the rescue

• All pets transferred to Rescue Partners will be spayed or neutered

• Rescue Partners have the ability to bring stray animals to GBHS to complete their stray hold, providing adequate opportunity for the animal to be located and reclaimed by their owner. If the animal is not reclaimed during its stray hold GBHS will return the animal to the Rescue Partner for adoption through their organization and will provide the necessary vaccines and sterilization at no additional cost to the Rescue Partner.

• Discounted veterinary care for Rescue Partners is offered through our Rescue-Able Program. Treatments are offered at the cost to GBHS.

How does the process work?

Once you’ve filled out the Rescue Partner application and are an approved Rescue Partner you are eligible to transfer animals to your organization. We try to make it as easy as possible for Rescue Partners to choose animals from our facility. When looking for animals to transfer to your rescue group, you can look at the stray animals housed at our Animal Care and Control facility or at our adoptable animals housed at our Adoption Center. Sometimes, our Rescue Coordinator will also reach out to individual rescue organizations in regard to specific animals.

Important points to consider before pulling animals from our shelter


• GBHS processes more than 18,000 lost and unwanted dogs and cats each year. Unfortunately, not all the animals GBHS receives will be eligible for rescue. The rescue program coordinator has the sole discretion to determine which animals may be released for rescue. In some instances animals may already have an interested party, or the animal will be a breed that many of our clients have expressed interest in adopting. In these situations, GBHS will always give local adopters first right of refusal. Our main goal is to find loving homes for all animals.

• As each and every kennel is critical to our shelter and staff, GBHS and the Rescue Partner will agree on an appropriate timeline to pick up the animal/s in need. If animals are not picked up within the time frame agreed upon, GBHS reserves the right to adopt the animal/s through our organization, or find alternative rescue groups to commit to the animal.

• All animals must be picked up at our Snow Drive location, unless stated otherwise by our Rescue Partner Coordinator.

• GBHS strives to provide the best medical care and housing possible for our animals, and will do our best in both discovering and disclosing any potential issues with each animal to the Rescue Partner. However, GBHS cannot guarantee the health of the animal, or be responsible for any illness transmitted to other animals in the care of the rescue partner.

• Animals will not be transported back to GBHS for any reason. If you encounter a problem, behaviorally or medically, please contact the Rescue Partner Coordinator immediately.

The partnership between the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, Alabama Shelter Veterinarians and Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine

Background


In the summer of 2014, the Greater Birmingham Humane Society learned that it was no longer able to obtain a premise permit for a veterinarian to perform surgeries on site. GBHS had previously been issued a premise permit; however, the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medicine changed its opinion on the issuance of the permit to an organization during the summer of 2014.

The board also explained that GBHS could not employ a veterinarian and that veterinarians could only work for other veterinarians except under special circumstances as outlined in the state veterinary practice act.

How did this impact GBHS?


GBHS’ policy requires that all animals be spayed or neutered before they can be released for adoption. As a result, GBHS was incurring between $35,000 to $45,000 in additional medical expenses each month for the care and alteration of our animals. Something had to be done to keep our doors open and our costs under control.

While many veterinarians stepped up to help (including Alabama Spay Neuter) they could not match GBHS’ in-house cost to spay and neuter animals which averaged between $9 and $22 per surgery depending on whether it is a cat or dog and the animal’s weight. Our organization was facing soaring costs and the reality that GBHS cold no longer “employ” the veterinarian we had just hired.

The Medical Model


GBHS’ leadership along with Dr. Cash had the idea to create a physical vet clinic that could then be leased to a for-profit veterinarian and vet practice.

Our leadership also saw an opportunity to help enhance and promote the shelter medicine program at Auburn University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. What if we could find a veterinarian to lease the building and lead a shelter medicine externship program with Auburn?

The GBHS board and staff felt this model might also be able to help seriously injured owner surrendered and stray animals by offering state-of-the art medical services that GBHS simply could not afford to purchase from private veterinarians – – these animals are often euthanized due to the high cost of treating them.

An anonymous donor stepped in and purchased the former MET VET building in Hoover, Alabama which had been closed for more than two years. Additionally, donors purchased state-of-the art diagnostic equipment and furniture for the building. GBHS’ veterinarian resigned from our staff and started Alabama Shelter Veterinarians, P.C. (ASV) which is owned by Brandon “B.J.” Cash, D.V.M. The clinic is located at 5220 Princeton Way, Hoover, Alabama 35226. Dr. Cash hired Vaughn Walker, D.V.M. in January 2015. The clinic is fully staffed and provides medical services to all of GBHS’ animals including those at Animal Care and Control.

Dean Calvin Johnson of Auburn University’s School of Veterinary Medicine agreed to provide veterinary students for 2-week rotating externships starting in Spring of 2015. These students will be provided with housing, surgical experience, and the opportunity to learn about shelter medicine through their work with our Snow Drive and Woodlawn locations.

Who supervises the Auburn vet students?

The shelter medicine program is supervised by Brandon “B.J.” Cash, D.V.M.

Do students “experiment” or conduct research on animals at ASV?

No. The shelter medicine program provides medical treatment and services to save and protect animals. The shelter medicine program does not perform research on animals. GBHS does not provide animals that are deemed unadoptable for “practice surgeries” or “terminal surgeries.” GBHS nor ASV sells animals to universities or research facilities.

What is GBHS’ role?


GBHS provides access to the animals at our CARE Center located at Snow Drive as well as animals at Animal Care and Control located in Woodlawn. We also raise money to help offset the costs of our contract with ASV. GBHS tracks all animals as part of important data gathering that will be used to study over population of animals located in our service area.

This partnership is an innovative, new medical model that has been commended by humane societies and cities throughout the United States. If you would like a tour of ASV, please contact Mary Grace Wilson at 205-397-8544 or email her at mawilson@gbhs.org.

Can I take my pet to Alabama Shelter Veterinarians?

ASV only accepts contracts from nonprofit animal shelters and GBHS approved rescue groups.

CENSUS REPORTS

Where can I find the census reports?

You can find the Asilomar reports HERE