Open letter to ACC commissioners concerning conditions at animal shelter


The ACC animal shelter on Buddy Christian Way

Dear Commission Members:

I am writing concerning my experience with the ACC Animal Shelter and hoping I get a

response.

Back in July, our family was looking to adopt a dog. At that time I had been following a post on

social media (Facebook) which I thought was an Athens-Clarke County post. It was not, but

following that post landed me at the doorstep of the ACC Animal Shelter located at 125 Buddy

Christian Way in Athens. This is the reason for my letter and this is why I am reaching out to you.

After leaving the shelter that day I cried. Ever since that day, this has been on my mind. I

wondered who exactly is in charge of this shelter. Who is advocating for these dogs? How many are actually rescued from this shelter, how many got adopted, and of course, I wondered how many were euthanized. My question for you is what measures are taken for these dogs?

After spending a short amount of time there my guess is there are very few are re-homed compared to other shelters.

This letter is not about the staff or the lack of staff. While the staff was nice no one seemed

particularly interested in showing or discussing the animals with us. I did ask questions and

found that the shelter does not use social media to promote the animals. I learned from the

website there was a list of “adoptable dogs”. Sadly I wasn’t made aware of any other efforts for these animals.

At some point, I did ask to see what dogs were available and was told what door to go through. No one offered to show us the animals and not one person bothered to go with us as we looked through the kennels. We knew nothing about the dogs we were looking at. We continued to stroll past each kennel.

The kennels were clean but it was a heartbreaking site. I remember clearly a female German

Shepherd, possibly mixed who continued to stick her paw through the pen. I want to know who advocates for these animals to find homes and what measures are taken to ensure adoptable ones find homes.

This was not the first shelter I had been to. The Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter also is overrun with animals but they work tirelessly to find them homes. They use social media which greatly increases adoptions, placements, and rescues. They advocate daily for their dogs, daily. MOAS puts so much effort and I want to know what efforts does ACC do to promote their animals and ensure they find homes after ending up at the shelter.

I have read the website, which still reads “due to Covid-19 our shelter hours have been adjusted”.

Apparently, Covid has remained an excuse. It also states to see any animal you need an

appointment. There are no open hours that the public just can go in and see the available dogs.

On the website is a YouTube video from 2011. The shelter in that video is not the shelter I saw. I never once saw any interaction room nor was offered to use any interaction room.

I would encourage you to revisit what was done in 2011. I would encourage anyone that wants

an animal to remember some of the best dogs come from shelters. These animals look forgotten.

I went back online today and it would seem that the dogs available for adoption are the same

ones that I saw back in July.

I also seen the online budget of $1.2 million for Animal Services including $25,000 increase in

Contract Labor for Kennel Technicians to provide assistance with cleaning and caring for the

animals to maintain industry standards, a $17,625 increase in Medical Services for rising costs to care for sick and injured animals, and $10,481 is included for vehicle replacement charges yet I also read using rescues were down due to “distance to the partners”.

It appears the great city of Athens- home to the University of Georgia- doesn’t even bother to use social media to rehome these animals and after spending a short amount of time walking through the cement floors where the dogs were housed I can’t imagine how anyone could be proud of this establishment.


Sincerely,

Christina Martin

Martin is a former Athens resident who currently lives in Watkinsville

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