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Animal shelter committee reviews policies

NORTH FORSYTH — After much talk over the best time to fix animals, Forsyth’s animal control and shelter advisory committee reviewed the interim policy recently set by the county commission.

Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt said the policy would remain in place until “this committee makes another recommendation that differs from this one.”

“That recommendation, whatever it may be, will go before the [county commission] for them to confirm,” he told the group during its meeting Wednesday night.

The policy is to fix animals that are 12 weeks or older, to allow owners to take animals home as long as they are neutered within 30 days and to neuter all male cats at 12 weeks. Animals will not be fixed if there is a medical condition, such as pregnancy, that would make it unsafe.

“While I don’t think anybody necessarily thought it was the ideal for their particular interest, I think all in all most people felt like it was a reasonable compromise for us to move forward with,” Merritt said.

The committee also unanimously approved a euthanasia policy. Under the policy, shelter animals would be put to sleep for health or behavior issues but not due to overcrowding. And it’s required to take all animals brought in, regardless of health or other issues.

“Every effort has been made to place animals into a loving and responsible home,” said Merritt, reading the policy to the committee. “There are times when humane euthanasia is the most compassionate and responsible course for the animals well-being and for the public’s health and safety.”

According to shelter figures, 81 animals were put down due to health or behavioral issues in September. Of those, 41 were sick, 21 were feral, 11 were aggressive, two were feline immunodeficiency virus positive, five had feline leukemia and one had heartworms. The shelter took in 186 animals during the month.

“Our goal is not to euthanize, that’s not what we’re trying to do, but we have to face the fact that sometimes we may well have to do it,” Merritt said.

Merritt told the board that the commission had voted at a recent work session to move forward with approval of PetVet Inc. in Cumming for veterinary and spay-neuter practices. The commissioners also went with Animal Rescue and Foster care policies, which allow for certain individuals and animal rescue groups to take in animals under certain guidelines.

The commission will finalize both measures at its next meeting.