Animal shelter policies on agenda at County meeting

Animal welfare is on the agenda at Thursday night’s County Board of Commissioners meeting. Staff is recommending adoption of an updated management/euthanasia policy for the County Animal Shelter that is likely to bring out the public, particularly local animal welfare advocates.

Hamstrung with an small and aging facility, Fayette County Animal Control under Director Jerry Collins is faced with figuring out how to stretch resources while caring for the dogs and cats at the facility. The new policy would bump the required five-day hold of impounded animals up by 25 days to allow a longer adoption period. It would also include a period to notify local rescue groups of animals within five days of being put down to give an added opportunity to rescue.

Animal advocates are pushing for more, with their eyes set on moving towards becoming a no-kill community. They are also at odds over the definition of 75 percent of cages being considered “at capacity.” If three-fourths of the 26 dog runs are full, dogs who had been at the shelter more than 30 days would then be at risk for euthanasia. The proposed policy says those open cages would be kept empty in case of dangerous or sick animals or for lack of staffing.

Fayette County No Kill Coalition is one of the local groups pushing for the animals particularly at risk. Through their Facebook group, they highlight at-risk animals and no-kill methodologies and celebrate when pets find their forever homes. In recent days, four dogs who had been in the shelter 30 days or longer were adopted or taken in by rescue groups.

Members from the Coalition and several of those other area rescue groups have been rallying support online and are expected to bring many to the meeting to speak out against the 30-day euthanasia list and the capacity threshold. Longterm, the wish would be for a larger, more modern shelter for the County. The current building is more than 30 years old with just 26 dog runs. Clayton County recently opened a new shelter with 100 dog runs.

They won’t be able to talk for themselves, but Thursday night the animals of Fayette County will have plenty of humans speaking up for them.

County Board of Commissioners meetings are held in the public meeting room at 140 Stonewall Avenue West in Fayetteville. This week’s meeting will be the first one held at the new starting time of 6:30 p.m.

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About

Christopher Dunn has been the sports editor for Fayette Newspapers since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Game Day magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.


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