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Atlanta, Georgia, was known for years as a city with a very low live release rate. Rebecca Guinn decided to reform it. She gave up her lucrative career as an attorney and formed a non-profit called LifeLine Animal Project, which she built up until it was able to take over the animal sheltering contracts in Fulton and DeKalb counties in 2013. Together, the population of the two counties, which contain the city of Atlanta, is over 1.5 million. Here is a link to an NPR interview that was done in July 2014 with Guinn.
Fulton and DeKalb have seen considerable progress since then. Lineline has reported that its live release rate for the Fulton County shelter is just under 90%. LifeLine previously reported that the save rate in DeKalb was at 86%. It’s looking like both shelters are going to finish 2014 in the 80-90% range. Both shelters are open-admission municipal shelters that, between them, take in about 50 animals per day every day. The population of the two counties is over 1.5 million people.
Fulton and DeKalb counties are counted in the Running Totals as 80%+ communities.
McIntosh County lies along the Atlantic Ocean coastline of Georgia, about 50 miles south of Savannah. It is a rural county with a population of 14,000 people. The county seat and only incorporated city is Darien, which has 2000 residents.
The county shelter has been managed under contract by a non-profit, the Humane Animal Resource Team (HART) of McIntosh County, since October 1, 2012. I called the shelter to get additional information on animal control in the county, and was told that when HART took over operation of the shelter animal control remained with the sheriff’s office. All animals picked up by the sheriff are brought to the shelter. Only the shelter does euthanasia.
Beth Kleymeyer, a board member of HART, and shelter director Jennifer Wrenn sent me the following information on HART. The shelter accepts owner surrenders with no appointment necessary. They may occasionally ask if an owner can hold a dog for a week or so when they are full, but they will take the animal immediately if the owner cannot wait. They ask for a fee for surrenders.
Cats are transferred from the shelter managed by HART to HART the 501(c)(3), which adopts them out at PetSmart. Many dogs were transported to the northeast in 2013, and the shelter hopes to keep that option open in 2014. HART has been working on increasing adoptions, and recently adopted out 39 animals in one week. HART spent over $30,000 in 2013 on spay-neuter, TNR, and low- and no-cost community surgeries.
In 2013 the shelter took in 479 dogs and 342 cats for a total of 821 animals, which is an intake of 59 animals per 1000 people. The live release rate (LRR) for 2013 was 94%. If the 73 cats who had TNR are included as live releases, the LRR was 95%. The shelter refers owner requests for euthanasia to a veterinarian. The modified LRR, including animals who died or were lost in shelter care with euthanasias, was 91%. The shelter’s reports of the statistics are linked here:
Cat Statistics for 2013
Dog Statistics for 2013