History continues to be made at animal control shelters in Monroe and Jones counties by my nonprofit animal group, Central Georgia CARES, my dad, Van VanDeWalker, and globe-trotting pardon guru Mr. Shane Smith. We recently launched the first-ever simultaneous pardons of two county animal control shelters.
A pardon in an animal control facility involves the director of the shelter promising not to euthanize any healthy animal for the duration of the pardon while people help find homes, rescues or fosters for the pets.
Everyone has been focused on getting the pets out of these shelters and into no-kill rescue groups or permanent homes.
While numerous people have helped out, there is one person and one organization that deserve so much appreciation for making these two pardons a wonderful success. And I doubt the names of these lifesavers will surprise you, because they continually do great things in Middle Georgia.
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Here’s the story. We learned a fabulous no-kill rescue group in Arizona that Mr. Shane works with agreed to take 27 dogs from Monroe County Animal Control. Twenty-one of those were puppies.
The puppies were required to have care from a veterinarian and be quarantined prior to transport. Providing care and housing for 21 babies was no easy dilemma to face. But neither was the alternative if we didn’t get them out of the shelter. Their very lives were dependent on finding a solution.
That’s where our knight in shining armor, along with his incredible university, rode in to save 21 puppies. Dr. George McCommon, interim head of the Veterinary Science and Public Health Department at Fort Valley State University, and the university itself came to the rescue.
“There was nowhere else for these animals to go in Middle Georgia,” Dr. McCommon said. “Everybody is beyond full, and they were just going to die.”
This is not Dr. McCommon’s first time as a lifesaver. He continually does good deeds for animals in our area and beyond. He also serves our country in the Georgia Army National Guard.
Remarkably, FVSU established a unique facility called the State Animal Facility for Emergencies, or SAFE. SAFE is designed to save animals’ lives in times of adversity.
There is no other facility around like SAFE, a 7,800-square-foot facility that can house 105 dogs, 80 cats and 30 horses in emergencies. Thank goodness it’s right here in our area ready to help out in dire situations. What a terrific asset FVSU offers our entire state, because there was such an incredible need not otherwise addressed.
So the 21 babies were in the capable hands of Dr. McCommon, his students and FVSU. They not only provided excellent veterinary care, but they also nurtured and loved them, making sure they were ready for their big day.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” Dr. McCommon said.
I’ve said a gazillion times that rescuing animals takes a village. This time it took a compassionate veterinarian and a progressive university.
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