“We used to get a lot of strays, but now we are getting a lot of purebred housebroken pets,” said Henson, “They turn them over to us because they can’t afford them anymore.”
The shelter operates a 38-unit dog and 9-unit cat animal shelter, and Henson said the shelter fills up by the end of every week.
She also said the shelter’s adoption rate runs at around five percent, a number she said she wishes was higher.
“I hate to say it, but that’s what it is, and we probably pick up a couple of dogs a day,” she said.
The shelter enforces Gordon’s animal control ordinance in residential areas of the county.
Henson said this means the shelter works on a complaint basis. When the animal shelter receives a call from the public about a stray dog, employees pick it up.
Stray cats are brought into the shelter, as Henson said there are too many cats to go and pick up.
Henson also said the shelter tries to scan every animal that comes in for a microchip.
Anyone over the age of 18 can adopt an animal at the shelter. The process of adoption includes a $55 fee for dogs and a $45 fee for cats. Henson said the fee is to cover the cost for spay or neuter procedures.
Henson said since the economy’s, downturn the shelter has been getting “a different kind of dog,” meaning the shelter is receiving more purebred, house-trained dogs and cats. Henson said this could be an advantage for those looking for an inexpensive pet.
“If you are going out there looking for a purebred dog, then you are paying twice as much money,” said Henson. “I’m not against somebody going to get a dog from a breeder, but we have so many good dogs going through shelters right now.”
Henson also said black dogs and cats are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized.
“We have a really hard time getting them adopted,” she said.
Henson said when she first heard about “black dog syndrome,” she didn’t’ believe it until she began working at the shelter in 1997.
“I don’t think people see their (black animals’) features, where white and tan are easier to see,” she said.
Residents who cannot adopt can help out by volunteering their time at the shelter or donating blankets, towels and flea shampoo, said Henson.
For more information about the shelter, call 706-629-3327 or stop by for a visit at 790 Harris Beamer Road in Calhoun.