• ‘Paws’ to adopt a new pet at the animal shelter
By Linda Green
|Taylor, a Husky wolf mixed dog, shows her friendliness as she waits to be adopted from the McDuffie County Animal Shelter. |
The McDuffie County Animal Shelter is seeking homes for pets that have been dropped off or abandoned in the streets.
The shelter was opened in 2003 to help stem the number of abandoned animals roaming Thomson and McDuffie County. The shelter, at 802 Whiteoak Road in Thomson, cares for those animals whose owners, due to economic reasons, can no longer keep or care for them.
Gail Newsome, shelter manager, said the economy has greatly affected people with animals.
She has seen an increase in the number of pets who have been sacrificed because people can't provide for both the pets and their families any longer.
"When they come into the shelter, we try to get the pets into a good home by adopting them out," Newsome said. "Most of the animals at the shelter are easier to adopt because they have already been in homes and around people," she noted.
Preparations are necessary before the strays can be adopted.
Newsome, and shelter employees Wanda Martin and Juan Montez, work with the abandoned animals to get them comfortable with people.
"They have been out on their own and have picked up a lot of bad habits," Newsome said. "You have to make sure that they are going to be suitable to go into a home," she added.
Montez works at the shelter because of his love for animals. He adopted a golden retriever last year and Newsome adopted a stray dog.
She encourages those who no longer want their pets to bring them to the shelter instead of dropping them into ditches, or into a neighborhood and hoping that someone will take the animal in or drop in in ditches.
There is no charge to drop off a pet at the shelter for those residing in Thomson or McDuffie County.
The stray increase in the city and county is the result of people not spaying or neutering.
"We wind up with them because people don't keep their dogs confined to their property," Newsome lamented.
In the last two months, 22 pets have been adopted from the shelter. "They were good adoptions and we were able to get them into good homes," she added.
The shelter is now working on another pet adoption endeavor.
Through sponsors and advertising in newspapers and radio, the shelter is featuring a multitude of pets that need a good home.
The shelter has big dogs, little dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. In the past, the shelter has had birds, rabbits, snakes, chickens and a donkey to be adopted as well.
Prior to allowing a pet to be adopted, the shelter has requirements.
A person seeking an animal must first visit with shelter employees who will make sure the person can care for it and provide adequate housing or space.
"They cannot be taken home and put on chains," Newsome said.
The shelter will also ensure that home and apartment renters are allowed to have pets on the premises.
Some of the animals at the shelter have been there more than a year. "They will eventually get into a good home," she said. "Most of the animals here are the result of somebody's carelessness. They want a chance to be adopted.”
The adoption costs are low and vary from animal to animal. The rates are kept to a minimum because people have to take the animal to the vet within the first five days of adoption to have shots and be spayed or neutered.
State law, and city and county laws, require rabies shots as well
"It is very important that people take their animals to the vet because they get sick just like we do," Newsome said. "There are a lot of diseases out there that affect them and cause them stress."
The shelter also picks up lost dogs and seeks to find the owner.
Newsome acquired a brown and white boxer male on on Thomas Avenue on Sept. 16. The dog, wearing two collars, was dragging a chain. "We are trying to get him home," she said.
The McDuffie County Animal Shelter is open from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and is cleaned on the weekends.
Newsome encourages those who have lost a pet or seeking to drop a pet off, to call the shelter at 706-595-0463. An answering machine catches all calls that come in after hours.