“I’m really excited about continuing the shelter’s mission of adopting out dogs and cats to the local community and beyond,” Walker said Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to working with the Humane Society and rescue groups.”
The department was recently restructured to delineate between the enforcement duties of animal control and the customer service responsibilities that goes with running a shelter, Walker said.
No new positions were added, but existing positions were restructured. Animal Control remains under the authority of the prison, led by Warden Jason Driver. The customer service side, including the shelter, reports directly to the Carroll County Commission Chairman Bill Chappell.
Walker said the new Animal Shelter Department will work on creating partnerships with the Humane Society and rescue groups and handling promotion and adoption campaigns.
“We’re focused on the fact that we’re trying to rescue these animals and put them in as many homes as possible,” she said. “We’re in the business of taking care of animals and adopting them out to families.”
A recent example of promotions and partnerships is the current October Adopt a Shelter Dog Month campaign being run jointly with the Carroll County Humane Society.
During this month, instead of the usual $115 adoption fee, people can adopt a small dog or puppy for $55, or a dog 3 years or older or over 40 pounds, for only $35. The Humane Society is making up the difference in price.
“The puppies still come spayed or neutered, microchipped, with negative heartworm tests, rabies vaccine, parvo/distemper vaccinne and one-year complimentary membership in the Carroll County Humane Society,” said Teresa Leslie, Humane Society president.
A similar Adopt a Shelter Cat promotion in June resulted in 30 subsidized cat adoptions, Leslie noted.
Another example of how the shelter can successfully work with rescue groups is the recent experience with Bully Wag, a Douglasville-based animal rescue group. Through July, Bully Wag saved 104 animals.
“None of these animals were up for adoption at the time, so that means the group helped the shelter save more than 100 additional animals through the first six months of this year,” Walker said. “The more partners we can have, the more successful we’ll be in the future.”
The Humane Society took shelter animals for an adoption event last Saturday at Horton’s Bookstore in downtown Carrollton, and similar events are planned for the future to get shelter animals out in the community and help them find homes. The shelter also plans to have animals at this Saturday’s annual Fun Pet Show at 1 p.m., at East Carrollton Park, sponsored by the Humane Society.
Promotional events have been a boon for the shelter in recent years and can be credited in-part for making 2011 the best adoption year on the books. In July, the shelter ran its second annual month-long special on all animal adoptions, an event which was sponsored in part by the Humane Society. During that month, cats and kittens were $20 and dogs and puppies were $40, down from $95 and $115, respectively. All animals adopted out through the shelter come microchipped, with a complete first round of vaccinations, and they are spayed or neutered.
In addition, Humane Society volunteers come out every Saturday and assist in the care of the animals by walking the dogs and socializing them.
“Of course, this is big task,” Walker said. “And we know that the more partners we have, the more successful we’ll be in the future.”
Last year’s Toys for Tots promotion highlighted the shelter as a philanthropic force in Carroll County, collecting hundreds of toys for less fortunate children and putting hundreds of dogs and cats in good homes. Walker said she’s prepared for another big Toys for Tots campaign, which will lead into the new year – a year in which Walker said she hopes will top recent years for the number of animals adopted out.
“We’ve got some big things planned, and we’re really excited,” Walker said.
Walker has lived in Carroll County since 1991 and was a registered nurse (RN) for 32 years. She is currently studying to be a professional dog trainer.