Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saving Pets is an Ongoing Effort

The Paulding County shelter will be closing on May 28 for at least two weeks for renovation. During that time, the management of the shelter will also be changing. The Paulding County Marshal's Office is taking over the shelter, which has become a model shelter in the Atlanta metro area. The staff at the shelter are dedicated to giving the best care to the animals at the shelter, and getting as many as they can out alive. We'll have to wait and see what the new management does.

But those changes at the shelter are not the main subject of this post. Since the rescue community, media and Atlanta's citizens found out that any pets remaining on May 28 would be euthanized, the response has been overwhelming. The shelter was packed for the past 3 days, and shelter staff have been staying late, without pay, to finish adoptions. The Atlanta community has decided that killing these pets is not acceptable. These dogs, cats and other pets have done nothing to deserve their pending fate, and we, as a community, have responded to the call from the shelter staff to save them.

So far, nearly 150 pets have been adopted or transferred to rescue groups over the past 3 days. I am assuming this is a record for Paulding, and may be for any shelter in the Atlanta area. I am so grateful for the response, and the second chance that these pets give. But several dogs and cats are still there, and more are coming in every day. In a few days, when the media moves on to other stories, and the public is distracted by other stories, will the remaining pets have a chance? Or will they, and all of the other dogs and cats that come in this week, become just another statistic, and join the other 1533 pets that will in Atlanta between now and next Sunday?

1533 - that's 219 a day. That's the approximate number of pets that die in Atlanta shelters every day. While the response in Paulding has been inspiring, we, as a community, haven't yet saved one day's worth of pets. With this much media attention and call to action, we haven't yet saved 2% of the pets who will be euthanized in 2010.

But the response has given me hope. We ARE a community where killing is unacceptable. We are showing that we want a different outcome. We want something other than death for these dogs, cats and other animals that society has surrendered, abandoned and cast aside.

I am asking that we continue throughout the week to save the Paulding pets. Let's commit to not letting even one pet die because May 28 has arrived. But let's not stop there. Let's get the pets from Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Clayton, Douglas and all of the other counties that face the same overwhelming numbers of dogs and cats that they need to find homes for. Let's make space in the rescue groups -- every pet adopted from a rescue group makes space for a shelter pet. Can't adopt? Then foster. Can't foster? Then volunteer. Can't volunteer? Then donate. Don't leave the solution to someone else. For that one dog or cat who is waiting, there might not be someone else.

There is only you.

These are some of the pets still waiting at the Paulding shelter. Click here for directions to the shelter to save one of these dogs or cats. Want to foster one of these pets? Click here to fill out a foster application. Want to donate toward the care of Paulding pets that we save? Click here.

Stay tuned for details of the Paulding pets that are joining the AARF rescue program - a mom and her nursing kittens, a young husky mix, and more to join this week. Thank you to all of you who have donated so far - you are helping us save them.

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