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Hall County Animal Shelter honored for changes that advocates say saved more animals' lives
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Ryan Dunahoo, animal care technician with The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, carries a kitten in a carrier to transport it to the Humane Society at Hall County Animal Shelter in September 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

The Hall County Animal Shelter has been honored by an animal welfare group for changes that it says led to higher live outcome rates for the animals. 

The shelter has received the Transformational Change Award from Best Friends Animal Society, a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to saving animals at shelters. 

In February 2019, the Hall County Board of Commissioners voted to adopt many of Best Friends’ recommendations, including implementing a Community Cat Program and requiring appointments for pet owners to surrender their animals. Since then, the shelter has made those changes and improved its live outcome rates. 

"The staff and volunteers at the Hall County Animal Shelter fully embraced these and other positive changes in order to reach and maintain a 90% live outcome rate," Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard Higgins said in a statement. "I would like to personally congratulate them and this great community for their efforts in helping us achieve a transformation worthy of this distinct honor." 

Best Friends conducted a no-cost audit for the county shelter in December 2018, evaluating shelter and field operations and compiling a report of the nonprofit’s findings. The report includes data from Jan. 1 through Sept. 20, 2018, when the county shelter took in 4,966 dogs and cats. The save rate for dogs was about 80%. For cats, about 41% survived. 

The county shelter publishes an intake report on its website. According to the report, which is updated monthly, in July, the shelter took in 354 animals, including 198 cats, 141 dogs and 15 other animals. For cats, there were 162 live outcomes and 36 euthanized. For dogs, there were 130 live outcomes and 11 euthanized. For other animals, 13 had live outcomes and two were euthanized. For July, the shelter had an 86% live outcome rate, according to that report. 

Best Friends praised the shelter’s changes. 

"Hall County is a great example of how any county can achieve a high rate of live outcomes with dedicated leadership, community support and a shift in shelter policies," Carrie Ducote, senior manager of Georgia for Best Friends, said in a statement. "It's through partnerships like this that the lives of countless animals can be saved." 

The county shelter is located at 1688 Barber Road in Gainesville. To make an appointment to adopt or surrender an animal, call 678-450-1587. The shelter is appointment-only as a precaution to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

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