Local shelter experiencing higher intake

Officials with Lifeline Animal Project say their shelters are filling up fast.

Lifeline Animal Project, which manages animal shelters and services in DeKalb County and Fulton County, said their shelters are filling up—quickly.

Lifeline has taken in approximately 450 more animals from July to November in 2017 than during the same time frame last year, according to statistics provided by Lifeline.

“The intake has slowly been coming up every year,” said Lifeline Animal Shelter Spokesperson Karen Hirsch. “We’re trying to do a lot of different things to get these animals adopted.”

Lifeline Animal Project began to manage DeKalb County’s animal shelter in 2013. According to Lifeline, the total animal intake from July 2014 to June 2015 was 7,651. From July 2015 to June 2016 the total intake was 7,695. From July of 2016 to June of 2017 the number of animals taken in by Lifeline jumped to 8,303.

Hirsch said the increase in animal intake is partially due to apartment complexes and rental properties changing their pet policies.
Dozens of families have given up their four-legged friends because of the changes, Hirsch said.

“We are seeing a lot of owner turn-ins because apartment and rental managers switched to new managers and some people are not allowed to keep their pets,” Hirsch said. “We’ve had people in tears come to us and say they either have to give up their dog or give up their home.”

Hirsch also said pet owners not spaying and neutering their animals has contributed to the shelter intake.

Despite more animals at the shelter, Hirsch said adoptions have also increased to 300 percent thanks to adoption events and initiatives throughout the year.

On Dec. 29 and 30, Lifeline waived adoption fees in a event sponsored by Prai Beauty.

Hirsch said Lifeline also allowed 55 people to take home dogs for Christmas for two weeks as a trial. According to Hirsch the program was very successful.

“We do special adoption events throughout the year and we’re constantly increasing the number of foster homes we have, and we ask volunteers to come in and take a dog out for a day,” Hirsch said.

On July 26, DeKalb County commissioners, Lifeline Animal Project officials and animal enthusiasts celebrated the grand opening of the 33,440-square-foot facility in Chamblee and closed the location in Decatur.

County officials also approved a resolution Nov. 7 to make DeKalb’s animal shelters no-kill shelters, which means the shelters are committed to a national standard of saving 90 percent of the animals they take in.

“That will be a challenge, but we’re going to do it,” Hirsch said. “We’re asking the community to step up and help. The main thing is spaying and neutering your pet and to stop by our shelters and see what we have. If anyone is having trouble keeping their pets due to financial reasons, we have plenty of resources we can give them.”

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