Animal shelters urge more residents to adopt, foster amid unprecedented overcrowding

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — LifeLine Animal Project, a nonprofit that manages shelters in DeKalb and Fulton counties, is urging the public to “help save lives.”

In a statement released this week, LifeLine said the DeKalb Animal Services’ shelter is taking care of more than 650 dogs, the most ever housed at once, with an additional 135 arriving each week.

Representatives with the nonprofit said the DeKalb shelter needs to find homes for 250 dogs by next Thursday, September 14. As things stand now, 30 dogs are at risk for euthanasia each week.

“We are euthanizing dogs who could be saved if it weren’t for the lack of shelter space to humanely house them,” LifeLine CEO Rebecca Guinn said. “These dogs belong in homes, not our county shelters. We can’t save them without more help from the public.”

In Fulton County, LifeLine’s shelter is caring for more than 460 dogs, including 131 that arrived just last week. LifeLine reps said 10 to 15 dogs are being considered for euthanasia in Fulton County on a weekly basis.

This summer, LifeLine had to put down more than 100 animals. It marked the first time in the 10 years Lifeline has been operating the shelters that it had to kill dogs due to overcrowding.

Lifeline said overcrowding can be traced to issues like a backlog in animal cruelty cases.

There are dogs that have been in the shelters for more than a year while the court system decides if they should return to their owners. Some are there because their owners had to surrender them due to breed restrictions in some communities.

Some families are turning in pets due to inflation.

“We have a situation now where a person had to surrender their animal because they no longer have a home,” Tiki Artist, LifeLine’s Public Relations Manager, said. “That’s the reality we’re looking at that every single day.”

Lifeline said it even offers a program where volunteers can take a dog for a day. Workers said fostering a dog for a short while can turn things around for an animal who needs some time away from a shelter to decompress.

The organization said more volunteers to walk dogs can also help the animals get out of the stressful, noisy shelter to feel relief.

“Our teams are working around the clock to get as many animals into homes as possible, but we have reached well beyond the resources available as we navigate this ongoing crisis,” Artist said. “The shelter can only do so much. It is up to our community to save lives.”

You can visit LifeLine Animal Project’s website here to learn how to adopt, foster, or donate.

Nicole Bennett

Nicole Bennett

CMG Digital Content Producer





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