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Hall County Animal Shelter is euthanizing fewer dogs, cats
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Dogs wait in cages at the Hall County Animal Shelter on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

The Hall County Animal Shelter has maintained a 90% live outcome rate for the past three months — a huge increase over 2018 survival rates that in some cases hit as low as 41 percent.

In March, April and May, the shelter improved its save rates compared to its figures before it adopted new practices for animals recommended by an independent animal welfare group in February.

A 90% survival rate was the goal of Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit that assessed the shelter and recommended some changes.

Best Friends’ report included data from Jan. 1 through Sept. 20, 2018, when the shelter took in 4,966 dogs and cats. The save rate for dogs was about 80%. For cats, about 41% survived during that time.

On Feb. 28, the Hall County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Best Friends’ recommendations for improving shelter outcomes and reducing euthanasia rates, including starting a Community Cat Program and adjusting the shelter’s intake program.

March

Dogs taken in: 307

Live outcomes: 94.9%

Cats taken in: 112

Live outcomes: 83.1%

April

Dogs taken in: 195

Live outcomes: 90.3%

Cats taken in: 92

Live outcomes: 89.2%

May

Dogs taken in: 228

Live outcomes: 86.9%

Cats taken in: 215

Live outcomes: 97.8%

“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 state of Georgia and the entire country can reach a 90-percent save rate by 2025.”

The Community Cat Program aims to reduce the feral cat population in Hall by trapping the cats, having them spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and releasing them back to their original habitats.

The shelter has also started requiring pet owners to make appointments before surrendering their pet to the shelter, with the goal of learning more about the pet’s situation.

“What we are talking about is helping to curb the intake by requiring appointments for owner surrenders so that we can provide better customer service to people. … We can find the truth about what is going on with them and see if there is a way that we can provide them with a solution so that they don’t have to impound their animal,” Ducote said in February.

Shelter Coordinator Stephanie List said the program helps keep overcrowding down at the shelter.

“Our managed intake program allows owner-surrendered pets the opportunity to go directly to a rescue instead of having to stay at our facility,” List said in a statement.

The Hall County Animal Shelter is at 1688 Barber Road in Gainesville and can be reached at 678-450-1587.

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