News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Sept. 26, 2011
GROVETOWN, Ga. -- The new Columbia County Animal Shelter has only been open for two months and is already almost at full capacity.
The staff expected to fill the cages, but not quite this quickly.
While News 12 was there today as someone was dropping off a pet. A father with four daughters said they just didn't have the time and he wanted the dog to have a good home. It's a growing problem that isn't slowing down.
"Probably not going to slow down here for a while," said Columbia County Animal Services Supervisor Daniel Mayne.
They're already close to capacity with their 80 dog kennels and kitty cages. They say more and more animals are being turned over by their owners.
"When we moved into the new facility, certainly we'd be able to take in more owner-surrendered animals from people who are being deployed and things like that," Mayne said.
Experts say this time of year is tough for pets.
"As we come into the fourth quarter of the year, people are spending money on Christmas and things like that not so much in the animals," Mayne said.
It's not just in Columbia County -- almost all local shelters are full.
"It's nationwide a lot of animal shelters and the privately-run rescue groups are having an influx of animals right now," Mayne said.
Normally the county can hand over some cats and dogs to some of the privately-run shelters, but not right now.
"The rescue numbers, being transferred to a rescue group are down slightly," Mayne said.
But the good news for the moment is that adoptions are up.
"I think it is our new location. Being out here right near the subdivisions and I-20 helps out a lot," Mayne said.
It helps but doesn't quite put a dent in the number of homeless animals.
"If we get to capacity obviously we're going to be doing some things like a low-cost adoption special. Working with adoptions and things like that, getting them out of the front door is definitely motivation for us all," Mayne said.
The shelter says they've had to put down less animals this year but that might be because they have more room ... but that room is running out.
They can't affect the number of people who drop off animals, but they can encourage people to adopt. Right now they're planning a Halloween-themed discount adoption near the end of October so people can save money and maybe a life.