State orders Macon-Bibb animal shelter to stop taking animals. Here’s why

The Georgia Department of Agriculture has ordered the Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare shelter to stop taking animals until it can get its population under control.

The shelter’s capacity is 80 dogs and 40 cats, but on Tuesday the state found 170 animals in the facility, according to a Macon-Bibb County government release.

From July through the end of September, 1,065 animals came to the shelter, but only 691 were adopted, rescued or fostered, the release stated. Another 261 were euthanized.

As of Wednesday morning, the shelter held 182 animals, including 47 adoptable, 30 mothers and babies that can only go to a rescue shelter and 57 strays that must be held for seven days before being considered for adoption. Another 48 are in legal hold, which means they can’t be considered for adoption until the case is settled in court.

On Oct. 17 the shelter made a public push for adoptions, noting there were more than 200 animals at the facility, the release stated. On Friday, 36 dogs and 18 cats were adopted, rescued, or fostered.

“We had a great response from our community last week to help alleviate the strain on our shelter, but we remain severely overcrowded,” Shelter Manager Tracey Belew said in the release. “We have a very supportive rescue and foster community, and we see animals adopted every day, but we cannot keep up with the daily influx of animals that keeps us overcrowded every week. This impacts our ability to properly care for all of them and the building.”

In addition to the overcrowding, the inspection found dirty air vents, clogged drains, areas that needed severe cleaning, overcrowded cages and kennel runs, cage doors that had been chewed through, and more, the release stated.

The Macon-Bibb Facilities Management Department met with Animal Welfare on Tuesday to develop a plan for fixing the problems and began working on the building Wednesday.

“Our focus now is to return the facility to the shape it needs to be in, but moving forward, we have to show the Department of Agriculture that the shelter will not remain over capacity for weeks at a time as it does now,” Belew said in the release. “This will require limiting the number of strays and legal cases that we can accept, as well as continuing to work with our rescue groups to find animals a permanent home.”

To help get more animals out of the shelter, adoption fees have been cut in half. The fees are now $50 for dogs and $35 for cats, which includes spay or neuter, de-worming, vaccinations and county registration.

To adopt, visit the shelter at 4214 Fulton Mill Road from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, or Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wayne Crenshaw has worked as a journalist since 1990 and has been a reporter for The Telegraph since 2002. He holds a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Georgia College and is a resident of Warner Robins.