COVINGTON, Ga. - Planned PEThood, a Gwinnett-based nonprofit animal welfare organization, formed a partnership with the Newton County Animal Shelter to reduce the euthanasia rate within the shelter.
Inside the shelter’s stone walls, animals are heard barking and meowing - their sad cries, looking for a "furever" home. Unfortunately, according to data provided by the shelter, many of those animals do not find their "furever" home as 67% of animals did not make it out of the shelter alive in 2017. In 2018, the number slightly dwindled to 55%.
Planned PEThood has plans to greatly dwindle the euthanization rates with their spay/neuter transport program. The program launched this year, and Newton is the first county in Georgia to benefit from its services.
In June 2019, Planned PEThood announced through a press release, the organization was awarded a $5,000 innovation grant from Maddie’s Fund, a foundation with a mission to create a no-kill nation. The innovation grant will fund the spay/neuter transport program in Newton, helping 75 animals receive free spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccination at Planned PEThood’s Duluth clinic.
The program will “ensure that more animals leave the shelter sterilized, vaccinated and - most of all - alive,” according to the press release.
Lauren Frost, development coordinator at Planned PEThood, believed the reason behind the low adoption rate was because the animals were not fixed, nor healthy. The adoption fee from the shelter only included the microchip and a vaccination, so potential adopters were unsure of the additional costs.
“You go to adopt a kitten for 30 bucks. You have no idea what your cost of all that extra stuff will be when you go to your vet,” Frost said. “You can go down the street and get a fully vetted animal for 30, 40 or 50 bucks.”
The program allows Planned PEThood to transport animals from the shelter to their Duluth clinic, where they are spayed/neutered. The animals are later returned to the shelter where they have a better chance of being adopted. Some animals are not returned the shelter; instead, Planned PEThood transports them to no-kill shelters and rescue groups in Georgia.
Cynthia Wiemann, director at Newton County’s animal control, spoke about the visible change happening since the program began in May. According to the press release, 83% of animals in the shelter were adopted out in May.
“To make a difference, you need a community,” Wiemann said.
Planned PEThood was recently awarded another grant. This time, the organization will receive $48,000 from Best Friends Animal Society, a no-kill animal rescue and advocacy nonprofit organization. The details of the grant are still in the works, according to Frost, but it will ensure all animals adopted from the Newton County Animal Shelter will be spayed/neutered.