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Why local volunteers are spending hours locked in kennels
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Courtney McCann comforts Maelle, a frightened pooch, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, during the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia's annual Adoption Angel Lock-In. - photo by Scott Rogers

Normally when waking past the rows of kennels at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, a chorus of barking erupts from dozens of canine residents, but since Thursday, human kennelmates have been keeping the pups contently quiet. 

Thursday, Sept. 24, marked the beginning of the humane society’s fifth annual Adoption Angel Lock-in, a fundraiser for the organization. 

“It’s a very humbling experience,” said Sam Threadgill, the nonprofit’s director of marketing and development. “It’s normally loud in the large dog room, but it’s quiet during the lock-in. Getting that love for a long period of time is indicative to how important it is to get them into a home, so they don’t have to go through that every day.” 

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Bella the dog looks out her cage Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia during their annual Lock-In fund raiser. - photo by Scott Rogers

From Thursday until Saturday, Sept. 26, volunteers are being locked up in kennels with adoptable dogs until someone “bails them out.” Each participant is asked to set a bail amount of $250 or higher to collect from the help of friends, family and others in the community. 

So far, Threadgill said 107 people have signed up for the fundraiser, 75 of whom have chosen a time slot to participate in-person. The rest have opted to gather donations online.  

This year’s Adoption Angel Lock-in fundraiser is dedicated to Lori Van Scoten, a longtime volunteer who died July 12, 2020. Threadgill said the Humane Society left a donation option in Van Scoten’s honor with a donation goal of $2,500. As of Friday afternoon, $1,778 has been donated in her memory. 

Fifth annual Adoption Angel Lock-in  

What: Fundraiser for Humane Society of Northeast Georgia’s homeless animals   

Where: Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, 845 W. Ridge Road, Gainesville 

Lock-in event: Thursday, Sept. 24 through Saturday, Sept. 26  

Donation cut off: Wednesday, Sept. 30 

To donate: 

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The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia hold their annual Adoption Angel Lock-In Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, fund raiser. Volunteers are locked-up in kennel until bail has been raised. The lowest bail is set at $250 with the goal to raise $80,000 to support HSNEGA’s rescue/adoption efforts. - photo by Scott Rogers

In addition to raising money for the Humane Society’s efforts, Threadgill said the lock-in also raises awareness about the daily experience animals have in their kennels.  

“I’ve invited my friends to come see me locked in, and every time someone comes through the door, I’m looking to see if it’s my friend,” she said. “You can only equate that to every time someone walks by a dog. They think, ‘Oh, is that going to be my forever home?’ You can understand why they jump up.” 

Carri Haigh of Braselton sat for hours in a kennel with Rudey, a brown medium-sized pitbull-terrier mix, on Friday. Through spending time with him, Haigh said she has learned that he’s smart and is best suited for being an “only dog.” 

“He’s been very good with me,” Haigh said, sitting beside Rudey. “Being here really gives you a sense of how easily their (dogs’) behavior can degenerate. They try to bring toys and have things that are interesting, but I can see where boredom would set in. Every little thing happening outside their kennel is super exciting.” 

Because of the nature of the lock-in, the Humane Society’s homeless dogs are put in the spotlight, helping increase their chances of adoption. 

“We can barely keep animals in the building,” Threadgill said. “We filled every kennel with large dogs, and a lot of times those are harder to get adopted. But they’ve been going really well.” 

All donations from the event will go toward caring for the Humane Society’s homeless furry residents. Donations will be accepted until the end of September.  

As of Friday afternoon, the nonprofit had raised more than half its $80,000 goal. To donate and view “locked up” participants, visit

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