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Letter to the editor
County hasnt a clue about animal options
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Forsyth County News


Regarding the article from Oct 14: “Shelter’s future remains fuzzy”

It is not fuzzy at all. The commissioners have not even started building a facility to be run by the county or another entity, nor have they budgeted to take over operations, so the only choice that remains is whether to alter the contract while renewing with NALAA. 

Which leads to the real question: Why would a civilized community continue to allow hundreds of adoptable pets to be put to death when other options exist?  Reputable rescue groups across Forsyth County and Georgia have been begging to save animals from the Forsyth County Shelter, through no-fee rescue transfers.  Is the denial of these groups really due to a fear that other organizations are profiting from transferred animals, as suggested during the commissioners work session on Oct 12?

Animal rescue is not about making money, and to suggest that allowing no-fee transfers of adoptable pets is a money-making scheme is just nonsense. On the low end, the Humane Society of Forsyth County spends an average of $250 per dog and $175 per cat solely on medical needs, not including food, boarding, or any percentage of operational expenses to take care of these animals before adoption.  With adoption fees on average at $150 per dog and $90 per cat, the organization is already losing money on every adoption whether a transfer or not.

NALAA gets paid a contracted amount whether animals live or die once entering their facility. There is no incentive for NALAA to transfer pets at this time and they have proven not to be rescue-friendly of their own accord. Increasing the save rate (number of animals leaving the shelter alive) must become a priority within NALAA’s contract for it to be a reality in practice.

Transferring a pet at no fee to a licensed rescue group is a way to greatly increase that save rate. Look at examples from across the state and even with our own neighbors, Cherokee and Dawson counties, which both encourage rescue transfers. There is no need to recreate the wheel to make this a part of Forsyth County’s policies as well. 

So, why would a civilized community continue to allow hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats to be put to death when other options exist? It seems a rhetorical question to me, but I suppose it depends on whether you are in the business of saving lives or not.  I strongly encourage the commissioners to add stipulations to NALAA’s contract for increasing save rates and allowing no-fee rescue transfers.

Jill Gooch