Fosters, rescues help humane society avoid euthanizing dogs

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

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In their final hour, the Chattahoochee Humane Society had a huge number of fostered and rescued dogs that kept the shelter from having to resort to euthanization. 

“We had some Hail Marys,” said CHS Volunteer Dale Frazer.

Last week, the humane society sent a plea out to the community to help make room in the far over-capacity shelter. With only 16 kennels and a near-constant intake of strays and owner surrenders, the shelter was housing 28 animals and expecting 11 more to be dropped off soon. 

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“It’s just a revolving door,” Frazer said. 

Not only is the facility ill-equipped to hold more than 16 adult dogs, but the pet food and other supplies were also running low. Brand-new Shelter Director Amber Mingin posted a message on the shelter Facebook page to the Chambers County community to ask people for help.

“We have not had to euthanize a single healthy dog since February,” Frazer said. 

However, if the shelter did not make room by June 28, they would have to euthanize five dogs. 

“Sassafras, Hamilton, Petey, Hazel, Java will have to be euthanized tomorrow if we do not get fosters and adopters,” Mingin said in the post. “We have so many dogs back to back that we can’t provide any of our animals with adequate care. This is the last thing that I want to see done to them, as I’ve gotten to know each one individually and my heart is aching.”

For the past few weeks, Mingin has dropped the adoption fee to $20 which includes deworming, heartworm test, vaccines and spay or neuter. 

The shelter is always accepting foster home applications and helps with supplying food and other supplies that fosters may need. 

Luckily, on the last day before the dogs were to be euthanized, four dogs were accepted into a foster home and two dogs, Hazel and Basil, were rescued by the Big Valley Animal Rescue. 

A mother and daughter duo drove the hour and a half drive from Wetumpka to foster Lucky, Hamilton and Serenity. 

“We’ve been lucky,” Frazer said. “Every time we’ve reached out to the community for help, angels have come out of the woodwork.”

Still, a life in the shelter is not good for any dog. The shelter recently had a parvovirus outbreak due to a sick puppy that was left at the shelter’s doorsteps. Four puppies were infected and passed away. 

Sue Ellen, a dog who came to shelter pregnant with 11 puppies, was emaciated when she arrived. The stress of the overcrowded shelter kept her from getting her strength back. After weaning her pups, she went to a foster home. Since being in her foster home, she has gotten her weight back.

“It’s incredible how good she looks,” Frazer said. “… She’s a fighter.”

The shelter has a spay/neuter program for residents of Chambers County in a certain income bracket. Mingin encourages people to get their animals spayed and neutered to help with the overpopulation in the county.