Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare has shifted its shelters hours of operation to include Saturdays -- a change animal advocates hope will lead to more pet adoptions and fewer euthanasias.
The shelter is now open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for pet adoptions and reclaims, officials announced Wednesday. The county commission previously voted to open the shelter on Saturdays, while also voting to trim its weekday hours.
Patti Jones, director of the Central Georgia CARES animal advocacy group, called the new Saturday hours very good news.
What working person can come down there from 11 (a.m.) to 4:30 (p.m.), Monday through Friday? Jones asked. So, to know theyre going to be open on Saturday, I think this is just wonderful. At least the animals have a chance to be seen, and working people have a chance to come down and see what animals are available.
They have some of the most wonderful animals that are picked up or surrendered. When you have limited access for the public, then their chances for survival are obviously severely reduced.
Regular hours for adoptions, transfers to rescue groups, redemptions, animal drop-offs and other walk-in business are from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays.
The shelter at 1010 Eleventh St. is closed to the public on Sundays, Mondays and county holidays.
Mary Crawford, president of the All About Animals rescue group, was pleased to hear the shelter will be open Saturdays. However, she sees the proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance before Macon City Council as a chance to make a real impact on the communitys overpopulation problem and the shelters euthanasia rate.
Thats what we really need to do, said Crawford. As a community we could do that, with everybody working on the same page, all apply for some grants. Thats the best way to deal with this. But Im glad theyve got more hours. ... I dont know how the numbers are going to come down unless its spay and neuter.
Efforts Wednesday to reach Animal Welfare Director Sarah Tenon for comment were unsuccessful. An animal control officer said she was in a meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Repeated follow-up phone calls to the shelter went unanswered, and its voice mailbox was full and could not accept messages.
Bibb County took over managing the animal welfare department July 1 as part of service delivery strategy with the city of Macon. The county plans to build a new $3 million shelter on county property off Fulton Mill Road.
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.