More adoptions, fewer euthanizations: Chattahoochee Humane Society’s turnaround

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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On Tuesday, the Chattahoochee Humane Society opened its doors to the public for an update and open house hosted by its new program director, president and board members. 

The shelter has not had to euthanize for space since February, despite many weeks of ongoing overcrowding. The overwhelming support from the community through volunteering and social media outreach has helped create many adoptions, owner returns and pet rescues. 

“We are a very small shelter that services the entire Chambers Country, so we need the entire Chambers County to really step up and help us,” said new Chattahoochee Humane Society Director Amber Mingin. “Because we really do care about these animals, and we want to be the voice for them.”

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During the open house, Mingin also announced that the shelter would be open by appointment on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from now on. 

In mid-June, the shelter was days away from having to make tough decisions on euthanization when two people drove from three and a half hours away to rescue three dogs. 

“I have high hopes that we can become a no kill (shelter),” Mingin said. “But at the same time, I also need the community’s help. I need each and every one of your help to spread the word in the community for responsible pet ownership.”

Chris McChargue and his children, Lillian and Joshua, have been volunteering every other weekend for the past few weeks to help the dogs socialize and exercise. McChargue said he got interested through his friend, Susie Butler, who also volunteers often.

“I wanted to show my kids what it means to help the community,” McChargue said. 

The family was commended by Mingin, Board President Dantz Frazer and board members Dale Frazer, John Radford, Stanley Tucker, Holly Wheeler, Shirley Osmond and Dave Shirley.

“You’re setting a really great example for your kids,” Mingin said to McChargue during the meeting.

Frazer thanked the small staff and volunteers of the shelter for their hard work. 

“They work very hard. It’s a very thankless job,” Frazer said. “If you can imagine what they have to do twice a day, cleaning up the kennels and taking care of the dogs, and just the overall amount of work, it’s mind boggling at times. They’ve done an outstanding job.”

Since Mingin joined the shelter’s team, the pet adoption fee has dropped to $20 for dogs and $10 for cats to help encourage adoptions. 

In the past week, there have been five pet adoptions at the shelter. Still, dog adoptions and rescues have come much slower. Though social media has helped keep the shelter from having to euthanize, there has been a constant intake of strays and owner surrenders.

In two weeks, the shelter got over 55 cats and kittens adopted. The cats who are still unadopted also get exercise and socialization in the shelter’s “cattery,” a cat patio play area.

Many puppies are doubling up on kennels, making it difficult for isolation to prevent the spread of parvovirus. Some puppies at the shelter already passed away a few weeks ago from an outbreak. 

A pregnant dog intake, Sue Ellen, gave birth to her puppies in the shelter. Most of the puppies are still at the shelter, never having been in a foster family. 

“These puppies have never seen the grass,” Mingin said. 

With the help of donations, the shelter has long-term plans to renovate an old kennel space on the property for 10-15 more kennels and an adoption center.