Humane Shelter At Capacity; Needs Donations, Volunteers

The Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter says it is having a hard time handling a crowded situation at the shelter.

Shelter Director Jeff Roberts said the shelter, as of earlier this week, was housing 235 animals.

Roberts said the shelter is dealing with many more animals then it did at this time a year ago.

“The last three months we have taken in about 100 more animals per month than we did in the prior year,” said Roberts. “We are very full with animals, far more than we would ideally house.”

Since May 1, Roberts said the shelter has taken in 790 animals.

He said that represents a 66 percent increase from last year, when the shelter took in 474 animals during the same period.

Roberts went on to say that since May 1, 403 animals have been adopted, returned to their owners, or transferred to other shelters.

He credited the efforts of staff and volunteers for achieving that.

“Our live release rate for July was 66 percent, which was very good because our target rate,” said Roberts. “That was last month. Now we have to work with animals this month.”

With numbers remaining high, Roberts is issuing a call for donations from the community.

He said the shelter’s budget assumes taking in just 150 animals a month, so the current situation is costly for the shelter.

He said anything people can provide would be greatly appreciated.

“Whether it is financial donations or it could be donations of canned food for dogs or cats, bleach, laundry detergent,” said Roberts. “Anything we would have to pay for, if we can get it donated, it helps us stretch our funds.”

Roberts also said volunteers are needed.

“We have a lot more animals to care for,” said Roberts. “We need volunteers to help us feed and clean, but also to help us socialize the animals.”

Donated supplies can be dropped off at the humane shelter on Scenic Drive between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in volunteering or finding out more information about donating can also call the shelter at 706-282-3275.

Roberts said one other effort the shelter will be pursuing to help control the cat population is a catch-and-release program that will catch and spay or neuter free-roaming, unowned cats.

He said the shelter is receiving an $8,500 spay/neuter grant from Petsmart Charities for that program, which will cover about 120 cats.