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Hopes of a "no-kill" shelter in Olive Branch

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (FOX13) -

An Olive Branch man is making it his mission to save the lives of more dogs and cats in North Mississippi.

Charles Reinhorn is a retired health care administrator. He has more than 25 years of experience dealing with improving the lives of people, but now, he's focused on prolonging the lives of animals in the city's shelter, by turning it into a "no-kill" facility.

Reinhorn Tuesday night presented his proposal to the mayor and Board of Aldermen, asking them to make a major change to the city's animal shelter.

It's something Reinhorn says is feasible, and is being done around the country. "I just came from a no-kill conference in Washington DC. There were people there with all sorts of fantastic stories about turnarounds in less than a year. This is not something that takes 5 years, we're talking about immediately."

Reinhorn's goal is to improve the shelter's save rate to 90% and have it detached from the Olive Branch Police Department, which currently runs the shelter. Last year, the save rate for strays in Olive Branch was 83%.

Reinhorn says, "There are about three million animals killed every year in shelters.  They're killed because they don't have a home. There are 17 million people every year in the market for a new pet. So, that means there are about 6 willing households per pet that go in the shelter."

Denise Novak, who is actively involved in animal rescue, says she's torn on the no-kill-topic. "I'm pro and con because I know a lot of shelters have a no-kill policy and you have got animals on a waiting list to come in."

She says to make Olive Branch "no-kill" is a lofty goal with so many homeless animals in the area and so few people willing to foster. "There have to be people step up and take animals in their home because they can't keep them at the shelter."

Still, Reinhorn is convinced a no-kill shelter in Olive Branch will work with a back-door plan to send animals to other states when the shelters get too crowded. "There are hundreds of dogs transported to the northeast each week from the south where there are pet shortages."

Reinhorn says currently there are four cities in the Mid-south with 90 percent-plus save rates that are no-kill: West Memphis, Southaven, Hernando and Tunica.

The Board of Alderman will review Reinhorn's proposal over the next few weeks, before deciding if they'll move forward on a no-kill shelter.

Many of the people at the meeting want to remind everyone to spay or neuter your pets. It helps cut back on the pet population.

If you'd like to take a look at no-kill shelters in Mississippi, you can follow this link: http://www.nokillnetwork.org/d/Mississippi/

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