Humane Society keeps working toward goal of becoming no-kill shelter

Published 10:16 am Thursday, November 2, 2023

Too many animals and not enough homes has for a long time rung true at the Chattahoochee Humane Society (CHS). But the nonprofit is taking steps to ensure all the animals they receive go to good homes.

Since 2019, Amber Mingin, the director of CHS, has seen an “astronomical increase in the number of dogs that were brought in from the animal control each city has.”

Because they are a public facility, they take the animals that are brought to them. When their 13 outside kennels, 16 inside kennels, and cat crates are full, they have to put a hold on animal control coming to them at all. That’s why they emphasize fostering and adopting, so no animal is turned away.

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Their fostering program provides homes with supplies, like crates, and pays for the animals’ medical expenses.

“You can take a dog for a day, you can take a dog on vacation, you can take a dog for as long as you’d like,” Mingin said.

However, the program lacks enough foster homes. This combined with the high number of intakes, low adoption rates, and nowhere else to take them meant some of the animals were having to be euthanized.

Mingin said the goal is to be a no-kill shelter. The CHS is getting closer to achieving that status thanks to recent initiatives.

A recent step has been bringing in a professional dog trainer that has volunteered time to give staff and volunteers lessons on more complex training.

Factors for adoptability can include friendliness with people or animals, food or create aggression or an overall reactiveness. A professional trainer can provide more in-depth behavioral knowledge that helps address and work on those factors, so the dog can be ready for adoption. Simplified, the more dogs that are adopted the less euthanizing there is.

“[The training] is like going to college… instead of just going and looking up the knowledge for yourself,” Mingin said.

The whole staff is benefiting.

Veterinarian Technician Phalisha Hadaway said “just in the two hours that he was here we learned a whole lot.”

The training is not the only improvement to CHS. Mingin said they have been intentional about their marketing, by using social media to promote the animals. Discounted adoption, spay and neuter rates are also down.

The Humane Society is expanding partnerships with other shelters locally and nationally to move animals when overcrowding does occur. They are also looking to partner with local schools and organizations, for community service hours and field trips. Donors, volunteers and fosters are vital for the continued success of CHS.

Becoming a no-kill shelter is the priority, but looking forward they hope to offer more services apart from sheltering, like boarding, behavior classes and camps.

CHS is participating in an adoption event on Nov. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at Care Humane Society in Auburn. Adoptions can also be made at CHS at 3265 Fairfax Bypass in Valley.

While the work is far from over, there has been some payoff.

“We had 43 adoptions in the month of October,” Hadaway said, smiling down at Osprey, an 8 month-old Doberman/Shephard mix.

There had been just over 50 adoptions for the entirety of last year.