An adoption push Thursday morning at the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare shelter led to 16 dogs and a cat getting new homes.
Shelter workers were motivated to get the animals adopted because a suspected distemper scare forced a self-imposed, two-week quarantine. When officials decided to fumigate and thoroughly clean the shelter, they needed the animals cleared out.
The adoptions accounted for almost half the animals in the shelter, but the remaining 19 dogs and eight cats still needed somewhere to go.
Fort Valley State University stepped in to help, offering use of its emergency animal shelter.
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The rarely used State Animal Facility for Emergencies at FVSU opened two years ago primarily for animals during natural disaster evacuations. But with little use, university officials offered it for temporarily housing Macon-Bibb County’s animals.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Dr. George McCommon, an associate professor of veterinary science at FVSU, said Thursday. “By doing this they can sanitize the shelter over the weekend, and Monday they can be back in business.”
Thursday afternoon, students in the veterinary science program helped get the animals into the emergency shelter and will look after them over the weekend.
McCommon was glad to see the shelter getting put to use and said it will serve as good training in the event of a disaster.
On Oct. 7, the Macon-Bibb shelter shut down after two dogs that died were suspected of having distemper, a highly contagious and deadly disease. Tests indicated the dogs did not have it, but McCommon said those tests are not definitive.
Macon-Bibb County Assistant County Manager Steve Layson praised rescue groups for getting animals adopted.
“We really need to thank our local and regional rescue groups and advocates for stepping forward these past few weeks to help identify resources and support networks for these animals,” Layson said in a news release. “They are helping find homes for the animals and making it easier for people to adopt.”
When the FVSU animal shelter opened two years ago, it was touted as the only one in the state dedicated to housing animals during a natural disaster evacuation. McConnell said at the time it would remain dedicated for that purpose and would not be used for assisting local animal shelters with such situations as the Macon-Bibb shelter is facing.
However, because there haven’t been any disasters, the policy on use of the facility has opened up some. In July, about 20 stray dogs were facing euthanasia when a rescue group said it could find homes for them if the shelter could quarantine them for a week. The FVSU facility provided the quarantine, and the dogs were all adopted.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.