For the past few months, there’s been nothing but positive news for Doug and Wanda McGee, of Second Chance Animal Shelter.

During the Best Friends National Conference 2019 Save Them All Awards, Second Chance Animal Shelter received the Best Friends National Partners Award.

“We were selected from the Southeast region, and the award states for dedication to and progress toward achieving no-kill by 2025,” Doug McGee said. “There were thousands of people and hundreds of shelters represented at the conference, so we were surprised and humbled by being selected.”

A few months ago, Lisa Barrett, Alabama State Director for Best Friends Animal Society, came to help the shelter, and other shelters in Alabama, to “get on the same sheet of music as far as animal welfare is concerned.” He said she offered to get Wanda a scholarship to the Best Friends Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, which would cover the cost of the conference and travel expenses.

“The scholarship was approved,” he said. “She kept insisting that she wanted both of us to go and I kept insisting that she just go and enjoy herself ... she finally convinced me, and we started planning our trip to Dallas.”

According to McGee, Barrett told them they were chosen for an award.

“At the end of the conference we were called onstage to accept the Best Friends National Partners Award for Second Chance Shelter,” he said. “As we stood looking out on a crowd — feeling humble would be an understatement. Just think, in May 2008 we started our shelter by picking up six puppies that were going to be killed that day unless we did something, and now, we were being recognized in front of over 2,000 animal advocates. It just seems incredible! We are such a tiny part of this huge movement and to receive recognition when there are so many groups and organizations that do far more than we could ever do is unbelievable. But, we really are honored to receive this award.”

The award was an honor, and McGee said they were excited about their part in making the U.S a “no kill nation.”

“I thought about how Dallas with its 12-lane superhighways and the huge conference center packed with over 2,000 animal friendly people, was a sharp contrast to our little shelter with a small staff sitting alongside a narrow dirt road,” he said. “I began to think about the nearly 5,000 shelters in the country and how each one is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. When the puzzle is completed, the end result is a better world. But if you have ever put together a puzzle and had one last piece missing you know that each piece is as important as the next. The goal is to complete this puzzle by 2025 and declare to the world that the United States is a no kill nation. We intend to work diligently to make sure our piece of the puzzle is ready to be placed alongside all the other pieces truly making this a better world. We want to thank Best Friends Animal Society for putting on an incredible conference and leading the nation towards becoming “no kill”. We have already made small changes since we got home but look for even greater things to come from Second Chance Shelter.”

According to McGee, Second Chance Shelter now has a booth for fundraising at The Urban Barn, a booth rental store in Boaz.

“Come check it out,” he said. “All proceeds go to the shelter.”

Recently, the Albertville City Council passed an ordinance to restrict the retail sale of puppies and kittens within the city. McGee and his wife attended the meeting in support of the ordinance.

“We are glad the ordinance passed,” he said. “Considering about 60% of our dogs are sent to rescue groups in other areas, it makes no sense to allow puppy mills to send dogs in from other areas and overpopulate our area with dogs.”

Albertville, Arab, Boaz and Guntersville have passed ordinances to restrict the retail sale of puppies and kittens. The City of Boaz adopted the ordinance at its city council meeting Tuesday.

Second Chance Animal Shelter has started a shelter program, and McGee said if someone sees a dog without shelter, they would take a dog house to it.

“We have already had almost a dozen dog houses donated and we’re building a network for delivering them,” he said. “No dog within 50 miles of the Second Chance Shelter should be without shelter, especially as wet colder weather comes in.”

“We are fully focused on moving forward,” McGee added. “Right now, we are on track to move 1,100 dogs through the shelter this year.”

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