Southern animals are getting a second chance up North, but they need some help getting there.
The Hall County Animal Shelter provides area animals that opportunity through its transport program.
According to Cindy Langman, program coordinator for the shelter, Hall County, like most of Georgia, has an overabundance of homeless animals. Northern states like Vermont, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have a shortage, and people are lining up to adopt.
"We have such a problem with overpopulation here in Hall County," said Langman. "Having the ability to transport animals to a different part of the country where there is a shortage is great for us, but it's also great for the people up North."
In order to streamline the transport process, the shelter is building an outdoor kennel. The facility will house 20 kennels, accommodating the 40-50 animals slated for transportation two weeks prior to leaving Hall County.
Langman said before this kennel was proposed, those animals were housed in foster homes.
The shelter takes the animals out of general population two weeks before shipping them for adoption in an effort to curb illness.
"Logistically, it's been a challenge," said Langman. "When we have 40 or 50 dogs in foster homes, it's a challenge because sometimes they need medication or health checks or certificates. So that's why we're building the outdoor kennel facility because they would be here on the premises."
The project is also being coordinated by a local Eagle Scout, Matthew Smith, who has identified the kennel as a possible Eagle Scout Service Project. He and the shelter are raising money for the fencing. The concrete slab already has been poured.
"Animals have always been a big part of my life, so I started looking around Gainesville to see what I could do, and when we spoke to the people at the shelter, the project seemed like a good idea," Smith said.
Bids are out on the fencing for the facility.
Langman says by building this facility, the shelter will be able to more than double the number of transported animals.
Over the past year they have transported about 100 animals to northern states, but are planning for 160-250 animals this summer alone.
"Because we're building this outdoor kennel, we're hoping to do maybe four or five transports this summer," Langman said.
The shelter can transport about 40 to 50 animals at a time. To donate to the shelter, visit www.animalshelter.hallcounty.org.