You may recall my nonprofit group Central Georgia CARES, Mr. Shane Smith and my dad, Van VanDeWalker, recently set out to make animal control history again by launching two simultaneous pardons in Middle Georgia. The directors of both Monroe County and Jones County animal controls eagerly agreed to suspend any euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets for the duration of the pardons.
Not only did the directors agree not to euthanize during the pardon, but they also granted pardon workers access to their shelters to work their magic. And work their magic they did.
We began the pardons with 64 total combined pets from both facilities for which we were charged with finding homes or rescue groups. If you’re even remotely familiar with the rescue or animal control world, you know it’s a challenge to find homes for just a few dogs in a specific time frame. Placing 64 in homes in an allotted time period is like jogging up Mount Everest.
Never ones to shy away from a daunting task, the pardon team got to work. We promoted and advertised the dogs on Facebook. We were showcasing them to rescue groups, and we were networking every way we could.
The fabulous rescue group A Paw and A Prayer worked tirelessly during the pardon in Jones County. The group was incredible getting pets adopted and out of the shelter. Those folks were working like greased lightning to place pets in terrific homes or with great rescues.
CARES was able to also help Jones and Monroe counties by providing really nice Kuranda beds and clamping bowls that attach to the kennels. Now they don’t have to worry about water bowls being tipped over.
Meanwhile the pardon team including my mom, Tracie VanDeWalker, and my Aunt Janet Battcher, in addition to my dad and Shane, kept the momentum going at Monroe County Animal Control. They were making phone calls, working Facebook and taking and sharing tons of pictures. They also were taking dogs back and forth to be vetted to get in great shape to be adopted.
CARES was happy to sponsor medical care, spaying and neutering, and transporting of 28 dogs to go to a rescue in Arizona. I want to extend a very special thanks to the SAFE Center at Fort Valley State University for caring for 21 puppies while they waited to be transported and to Dr. Lori Giles with Peach Veterinary Care in Fort Valley for spaying and neutering so many of our pardon dogs.
I’m happy to say the pets arrived safely at their destination in Arizona. They are happy, healthy and looking forward to long lives with loving families.
Thanks to the hard work of the folks involved, the simultaneous pardons were extremely successful. Of the 64 pets we started with, as of this writing, homes or rescue groups were found for 57. The seven remaining dogs will hopefully be placed by the time you read this column.
While they’re hard work, pardons demonstrate that caring people working as animal advocates can save lives even in animal control shelters. The pets that were saved in these pardons will be forever grateful.
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