A Focus on Life, Humanity, and Community Service in 1995, a group of concerned citizens, who saw the ever growing population of neglected and stray companion animals becoming a real safety issue in Alcorn County, Mississippi, opened a pound in an abandoned pre-civil war building in Corinth. The building was donated to the group by the County Board of Supervisors because they determined that it was not suitable for any other use. This group called themselves the Humane Society and began to bring in abandoned and abused animals. There were no cages or kennels there so the animals were simply placed in one of the rooms awaiting euthanasia or adoption. At that time the standard protocol was that if an animal was not adopted or claimed within a 5-day period that animal was scheduled to be euthanized. This practice resulted in the deaths of over 40,000 animals from 1995 to 2012.Money was scarce, so there were many groups who attempted to operate the pound over the years without success. In July of 2011, the current group at that time, known as the Corinth-Alcorn Humane Society, demanded that the city build or provide them with a new facility or they would shut down the operation. Charlotte Doehner—who would later become the current volunteer, shelter director—just happened to be at City Hall for a grant meeting for city flood control when the Mayor, Tommy Irwin, approached her and the other committee members for help. The Mayor was joined by the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and an agreement was made to help set up a non-profit, shelter management company to operate the animal pound and find employees to operate it. They formed a non-profit C Corporation in the State Of Mississippi, and applied for a 501C3 with the Federal Government. The legal name became the Corinth-Alcorn Animal Shelter, Inc. (CAAS). The founders of CAAS were thrilled when many members of the community showed up that first day to help, although walking into the building for the first time on a hot, August day was shocking! The stench of stale air overpowered them, greatly hindering their efforts to rehabilitate the building. First on the scene was a kind soul, Dale Fortenberry, the Mayor of Farmington at the time, who quickly jumped into action by purchasing cleaning supplies. They found a single, lonely dog remained, suffering from kennel cough, lacking water, and losing hope. The few remaining indoor and outdoor cages were filthy, falling apart, and simply unusable. The few windows in the building were covered with plastic garbage bags and plywood, only adding to the already suffocating stench. A vet tech arrived early in this process and generously offered her time during the week to serve as director. With her expertise and the Doehner family’s personal investment of more than 25k to replace and repair the broken cages, purchase equipment, redo plumbing and electrical, and paint the building they were able to continue to provide care for the neglected animals of the community. Another anonymous donation allowed CAAS to replace the windows throughout the building. Additionally, supporters pooled together to purchase a van to transport animals and pick up inmates from the local correctional center, that were available to help clean and maintain the facility. Unfortunately, despite initially good intentions, the vet tech continued to run the shelter in the outdated tradition of killing dozens of perfectly healthy, adoptable dogs and cats on a steady basis. The process started by moving a selection of unfortunate dogs and cats to the back of the building each morning. Next, the vet arrived around noon and begin to give shots to render the dogs unconscious, going up one side and down the other side of the runs. He would then go back and give the final shot into their heart to euthanize them. The number of pets killed ranged from 50-100 at a time, and while the killing took place the remaining shelter residents howled and cried as they witnessed the horror of what was happening. It was heartbreaking and a protocol Charlotte Doehner vowed to end after witnessing this horror too many times. She approached the CAAS Board of Directors with a proposal to make every effort to never again let adoptable, healthy, and loving animals be put to death without giving them the opportunity to find a loving forever home. After reviewing the facts, they agreed to create a plan to provide rescue and a chance for a better life vs focusing on euthanizing. It was clear that euthanizing these animals did not solve the problems within the community that the shelter was created to address. It only enabled the source of the overpopulation problem to prevail. Companion animal intake numbers during all those years only continued to rise despite the massive numbers killed. Euthanizing perfectly adoptable dogs and cats only perpetuated the old way of thinking, “get a cute puppy or kitten” and when it grows up, just drop it off along the road or at the local shelter, then turn around and get another one. Responsible care and treatment of companion pets as family members, spaying, neutering, and proper medical care all continued to be low social priorities. The practice of tying pets outside to brave the elements or let them roam the streets to breed without thought of the future lives this neglect produces continued to magnify. Property damage and abuse cases also continued to increase. In turn, sadly by example, only succeeding in teaching future generations irresponsibility and disrespect for life. CAAS could see the cycle needed to end, not by trying to kill off the problem, but by creating a plan to rescue, provide care for the neglected, educate the public, and spay and neuter. They now make sure that each animal receives the best care possible despite the current condition of the pre-civil war building. They hold fundraisers almost every weekend to raise funding as the city and county do not provide sufficient funding to care for the large numbers of abandoned and abused animals in the community. They have formed partnerships with rescue groups around the country to help them move the animals to foster and adopter homes. They hold adoption fairs. With the help of Mississippi State University’s vet mobile unit, CAAS makes every effort to ensure all adoptable pets are spay/neutered, fully vetted, and up to date on their shots prior to local adoption or being transported to other areas of the country for adoption. They work with groups of all types and interests to educate the public about the importance to spaying, neutering and vaccinating pets. On a yearly basis over 1,200 animals at the shelter are brought into their care. To date, since the inception of becoming no-kill, CAAS has rescued over 10,000 healthy, adoptable companion cats and dogs, providing shelter, protection, care, and ultimately finding them loving, forever homes.