CHS Board President discusses improvements

Published 9:30 am Saturday, December 3, 2022

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As the Chattahoochee Humane Society undergoes a leadership transition, Board President Dantzler Frazer and Executive Director Lisa Cofield discussed the organization’s mission and the new programs they’ve created. Among these are a “play group” program, a spay/neuter program and doggy field trips to town events.

The Chattahoochee Humane Society is a private non-profit organization. The shelter’s mission is to better the lives of animals in Chambers County by providing shelter to unwanted animals and reducing the overpopulation of animals.

“That’s why it means so much to me — because there’s a real need,” Cofield said.

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One way that the humane society is working to provide more socialization and exercise for the animals is with their “play groups.” Modeled after a “Dogs Playing for Life” seminar, play group is a time for dogs to interact with each other in a fenced-in play area.

CHS staff also use this time as an assessment tool to determine the dogs’ personalities and aggression levels. The dogs get to exercise as well as learn positive play behaviors.

“In play groups, you’ll see corrections happen,” Cofield said. “That’s when the other animals teach them how to play. Usually, the mama will teach them that.”

Current volunteers and board members have started bringing the dogs out to community events, such as the Rockingfest on the Square in LaFayette. This way, people see the dogs out and about and are more likely to adopt them.

“Dale and Amber have been amazing at getting the dogs out in the community,” Cofield said. “We need more volunteers just to get them out. That is very important — getting them in the public eye.”

Two of the dogs that attended Rockingfest on the Square last Saturday, Cher and Bumper, have been adopted. Dionne, Cher’s sister, was adopted after going to an event on Friday night.

Cofield said that she also wants to promote the spay/neuter program at the humane society. However, the program is funded by donations.

“We’re trying to get the word out about that,” Cofield said. “We’re trying to help the community with their pets.”

The humane shelter can only house 16 dogs and 24 cats, but they do often house more than 16 dogs at a time because of overpopulation. Mish and Mash are two puppies that were sharing space in a kennel.

“It’s also puppy season,” Cofield said. “They grow up here and then they have to be separated. We’re trying to clear the kennels out and get them homes.”

Every animal that comes into the shelter must get their shots and get neutered before they are adoptable.

“We don’t want to be part of the problem,” Cofield said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen once they take them home. They could get off their leash. They could get out of the fence.”

Feral cats are another issue in Chambers County. The humane society has begun to spay/neuter them with the help of the Best Friends Animal Society, a national organization that helps shelters. However, feral cats have to be returned to their community.

“If you take a cat out of the community, you’re just making a void that’s going to be filled,” Frazer said.

This way, other cats don’t move into the unoccupied territory and restart the cycle. Trap-Neuter-Return programs require a lot of resources and funds.

“We have a very limited budget. We are exceptionally limited,” Frazer said. “We’re doing what we can, but we need help.”

In the future, Frazer said they would like to build another play area on the property so that more dogs can play at the same time.

However, without the volunteers and donations they need, Frazer said this goal might be far in the future.