Lumpkin taxpayers help out Dawsonville?

by Emily Lewy

A proposal was presented at the August Commission Work Session to bring Dawsonville animals to our shelter for the purpose of creating “good will.”

Lumpkin County Animal Shelter appears to get a 2016 budget increase. Now, Lumpkin BOC will vote on giving the City of Dawsonville a good deal to kill their animals at our taxpayers’ expense? Do Lumpkin citizens want to pay for our county becoming the place animals are sent to die?

During July 2015, 15 dogs and 49 cats were euthanized in the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter. How can there now be so much extra space that county administration recommends accepting additional animals from Dawsonville’s animal control?

“Due to overcrowding … any animal could be euthanized on any day,” is the disclaimer published in The Dahlonega Nugget along with each county shelter Pet of the Week. Publication of the disclaimer began after a dog was euthanized even though a man saw the dog, gave notice that he would be back to adopt, only to find when he returned that the dog had already been killed.  This is a very public admission that healthy animals are not safe in that shelter.

Overcrowding is the usual excuse for euthanasia. According to the county’s Standard Operating Procedures, a pet surrendered by the owner can be euthanized immediately. An animal brought in as abandoned or a stray can be euthanized in three days. One seized by Animal Control must be held five days unless the owner has been notified, in which case the animal can be euthanized after only two days.

Our county is obligated to provide space for animals brought in by Lumpkin County Animal Control as a matter of public safety. After the shelter was established some fifteen years ago, the public viewed it as a place to take any unwanted pet. The shelter was portrayed as a safe haven where all who entered would go to permanent homes. Of course, the place overflowed! There was discussion of expansion, but with no money, euthanasia became the secret solution.

Euthanasia is a quick way to solve pet overpopulation for those who do not value life. For the rest of us, there are more humane ways to solve the problem.

Every pet taken into custody by the county for any reason needs to be promptly posted on a well publicized easy to use website where it can be found by the owner or someone looking for a pet. Counties implementing such programs have had great success in reducing shelter populations.

We must do everything possible to prevent our pets from going into the shelter so there will be space for those forced there by unfortunate circumstances.

Dawson County wanted $275 per animal from the City of Dawsonville to take city animals into the no kill shelter subsidized by that county. Even if our shelter had available space, the City of Dawsonville’s offer of $45 per animal is not nearly enough to provide adequate care. Quite honestly, this proposal is to hold for a minimal time and then euthanize.

Lumpkin taxpayers must demand better care for our own animals before taking on others’ obligations and expenses.

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