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shelter dogs in their kennels

State of the Shelters

Our goal with this page is to share the current shelter needs with our community in an ongoing way. We hope to update this page seasonally or more frequently as needed.

May 2024

Last year, we reached a pivotal breaking point in terms of the number of animals housed in our care. We recognized the physical capacity limitations of our buildings and made a commitment to work towards humane housing solutions, which means both the county shelters need to reduce the number of animals living in the buildings.

While we continue to face severe overcrowding into 2024, we have worked hard to increase resources to help more pet owners and improve the quality of life for the animals in our care. We are continuing to adapt to the challenges we’re facing, including many systemic problems that contribute to the number of animals arriving in our care. We have collaborated with many supportive community members and leaders in pursuit of creating a safer and more humane shelter environment for all.

There are no overnight solutions to drastically reduce our shelter populations, but we continue to have hope that with your support and the strategies currently in place, our community will help us get more animals into homes where they belong. Here is a brief update for all three LifeLine shelters, including the unique challenges and the most important ways you can get involved.

DeKalb County Animal Services

Dog Population: 506 | Optimum Capacity: 475

Last year, DeKalb County Animal Services reached peak numbers of dogs housed in the shelter during an outbreak of Canine Flu.. Because of an incredible response from our community, we successfully saw the population drop down to 312 dogs. Because the need in our community is so great, this number steadily rose back up to 500+ dogs and has remained in that range for months on end despite our best efforts.

It is a near constant struggle to balance the amount of “noses in”, pets arriving at the shelter, with the amount of “noses out” each week, pets leaving. As an open intake municipal facility, we do not turn away animals in need in Dekalb County, no matter how much or little space we have in our kennels when we begin a new day. It is important that the community understands this distinction from other rescue organizations and is aware of ways they can help prevent lost or stray pets from ever having to enter the shelter. We need to create room for pets that have the most urgent need for our help.

We must find a way to help more animals find homes and keep the shelter at a capacity that is humane for the pets in our care. Heartbreaking space euthanasia decisions must be made weekly and overcrowding is putting more dogs at risk.

Instead of focusing our at-risk dogs, we are asking our community to focus efforts and resources on getting more of our highly-adoptable dogs out so that those animals identified as most at risk (struggling in the shelter and exhibiting a variety of challenging behaviors) can get the time that they need to find a home. Any animal that leaves the building will help us reach our target of decreasing the dog population to below a threshold of 475. This new process includes daily population updates on the website and improved communications with our volunteers and community about how to best support dogs in need in our shelters.

Even still, 475 dogs housed in the building is less than ideal. This is an incredible number of pets to care for daily. While their basic needs are met, quality of life deteriorates the longer they are housed in a shelter intended to be a temporary safety net. The lower we can keep that number, the less dogs there will be at risk for illness, increased stress and euthanasia. In addition to these adjustments in communicating the ongoing need, we have partnered with DeKalb County leaders on both short and long-term solutions that were announced last fall to help more pets in need:

  • Increased funding for support to pets of DeKalb County residents including:
  • Additional kennel space to provide more humane housing for the dogs currently in our care:
    • Plans have been approved to build new, additional kennels which will provide better housing for court case dogs who are in our care long term
    • Projected installation is September 2024


We believe programs like these that make pet resources more accessible, including affordable spay/neuter surgery, are the key to helping more pets stay out of the shelters and in homes where they belong.

Fulton County Animal Services

Dog Population: 419 | Optimum Capacity: 325
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At the end of 2023, we celebrated the grand opening of a brand new 40,000 square foot shelter facility in Fulton County! With the opening of the new building, we’ve fortunately seen improvement in all of these ways to create a better environment for the teams and the animals as well as a better experience for visitors and supporters:

  • Staff is less stressed. We have improved our ability to train, onboard and implement new and efficient processes.
  • The building is easier to clean and has decreased the spread of infectious disease.
  • With separate kennel runs, animals are less stressed or overwhelmed in the building and do not experience as high of stimulation. It’s now easier to identify issues with dogs so we can work on getting them placed in a home more quickly.
  • Visitors feel more welcome and have the ability to more easily spend time with individual animals. We have also been able to increase the number of spay/neuter surgeries for our adoptable animals and provide adopters, fosters and rescue partners with better diagnostics for their pets with the new clinic.
  • We have seen an increase in the number of volunteers and hours spent with our team.
  • We are able to host other shelters and bring more learning and collaborative opportunities to staff in-house

At the same time, we experienced a challenging transition as we worked to close the former facility, adjust to the new set up, and final projects and installations were wrapped up by the county. With the new opening, there was an uptick of stray or abandoned pets being brought to the new shelter. The shelter is a safe haven, but can only be so temporarily for pets in need of homes, and we’ve seen the dog population quickly fill the building past its limits.

Similarly to DeKalb County, it has been difficult to balance the new intakes with finding outcomes for the animals, even in the wake of creative and successful adoption events. According to Animal Shelters Count’s recent annual report, “In 2023, 3% more dogs entered shelters than left, resulting in an additional 107,000 dogs in shelters at the end the year.” Fulton County Animal Services is also an open intake municipal shelter facility and can’t simply “stop” taking new animals in even when we’re overcapacity.

Fortunately, we’ve also started 2024 with recent pawsitive media and exciting operational updates. The full-service clinic at Fulton County Animal Services is now open for the public to make low-cost wellness appointments for their pets to receive the care they need!

Additionally, a Fulton County foster dog, a pit mix now known as Miss Peaches, has gone viral after being adopted by celebrity and President of Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy. Miss Peaches’s story, Dave’s choice to adopt and his initiative to raise funds for animal rescue has captured hearts nationwide. Lifesaving deserves to be trending so that we can keep up with the influx of dogs in need. We hope others will follow in his footsteps! 

LifeLine Community Animal Center

Dog Population: 119 | Optimum Capacity: 80

The incredible dedication of the team at our LifeLine Community Animal Center cannot be overlooked. Our county shelter facilities tend to take the spotlight in the news and on social media because of the massive number of pets that come through their doors, but the Community Animal Center is always working quietly in the background to help the county operations. When the county shelters are over capacity, so is this facility to keep up with the need.

Not only do they consistently take in pets from our county shelters and other rural facilities, but, when there is a neglect or hoarding case being investigated, this location takes in dozens of pets when they have nowhere else to go. As we enter the warmer months of summer, the Community Animal Center is also constantly preparing to help with the large numbers of kittens and puppies that are in need.

Maintaining a full staff at this location is critical to its function. If you’re interested in joining our team full-time, or even as a volunteer, our Community Animal Center would love to have you!

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A National Crisis

In conversations with other rescue organizations and in a review of data over the past few years, we’ve learned that these challenges are not unique to LifeLine or the city of Atlanta. For the fourth year in a row, we are faced with a “new normal” in animal sheltering. According to the report, “A total of 900,000 animals have entered and lingered in our nation’s shelters and rescues since January 2021. This surplus is on top of the population already residing within organizations, resulting in an ongoing capacity crisis.”

“The number of animals entering shelters through community intakes in 2023 remained roughly the same as 2022 at 6.5 million, with intakes nearly evenly split between dogs and cats.” Compared to a national decrease of 3.2% in intakes between 2019 and 2023, our community intakes through the Fulton and DeKalb County shelters decreased 6.89% from 2019 to 2023. But, intakes increased by 14.5% from 2022 to 2023. Even in the wake of these higher intake numbers, we have been able to rally our community and find an incredible number of homes in 2023 compared to previous years.

“While 2.2 million dogs were adopted in 2023, dog adoptions are still 5% lower than in 2019 (-108,000 dogs adopted).” At LifeLine, our overall pet adoptions were only down by 1.92% in 2023 compared to 2019, and adoptions were higher in 2023 compared to 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

We are frequently partnering with more organizations who want to help and who are spreading the word that adopting is the way to go when searching for a new pet.

For full shelter statistics across our organization, please visit www.shelteranimalscount.org/stats.

In Summary

The animals in our city need help. While donations are the foundation for our work in the community and allow us to help more pets get the care they need, donations don’t create more available kennel space. We need your help in getting more pets adopted or fostered. We need the community’s help in getting more lost pets back home. We need our community to know about available resources for food, veterinary care, and affordable spay/neuter options.

Together, we can save these lives and help the animals who need us most.

October 2023
A Message To Our Community

We are in the midst of an ongoing crisis affecting city and county animal shelters across the country. Times are extremely difficult for the animals housed in our shelters and the staff and volunteers who care for them. We have frequently reported on the conditions of our shelters and how desperate we are to get hundreds of animals into homes. We hear the distress and complaints about the overcrowding from our volunteers, fosters, and community; we experience the conditions daily; we see the news articles written and segments being broadcast on television and radio; we feel and share your frustration and heartbreak. We are heartbroken, too.

Let us express to you in no uncertain terms: the current conditions in our shelters are not humane or sustainable. We can and we must do better. We will exhaust all efforts to prioritize the health and safety of both pets and people in our care. The balance of humanely sheltering a growing number of animals while giving each one the care and the time they deserve to be placed in a loving home is getting substantially harder to achieve. The issues contributing to overcrowding primarily are rooted in the community, not the shelter, and cannot be changed overnight. In the shelters, we’ve reached a pivotal breaking point. We have stretched the shelter capacity and resources to unsustainable limits while hoping, for too long now, that there would be a turning point where more animals would leave these buildings than enter. But that has not happened this year and without homes to go to, we must euthanize more dogs at both county shelters in order to reach and maintain safe and humane housing.

There are many facets to the challenges we are currently facing and we will cover some of them in this blog. We also encourage you to check out two other blog posts that go into deeper detail on two important issues:

Why Are The Shelters So Overcrowded?

We know there are a lot of questions around why this is happening. We are seeing a new reality, a post-pandemic world; Economic challenges to families, a lack of affordable and pet-friendly housing, a national shortage of veterinarians, a decrease in spay/neuter during the pandemic and a need for more accessible and affordable spay/neuter options, a desire for specific breeds, and a diminishing public capacity to help and home shelter animals are all taking a heartbreaking toll on the growing number of animals coming into LifeLine’s care. We have accepted pets from families arriving at the shelter with all of their possessions in a U-haul and nowhere to turn for help. People newly arriving to the area are surrendering their dogs to the shelter because they are unable to find affordable housing that will allow them to keep their companions.

We are coming to terms with an untenable reality of the community relying on a singular shelter as the sole means of support for the growing number of animals at risk – animals who mostly were people’s pets and family members at one time. Systemically, the shelter alone cannot support the sheer volume of need.

Here Is A Look At Our Shelters In Crisis:

DeKalb County Animal Services

Current Population of Dogs: 569
Target Dog Capacity: 450

On Tuesday, October 17th, DeKalb County CEO, Michael Thurmond, visited DeKalb County Animal Services. The following day, he met with our CEO, Rebecca Guinn, and other LifeLine leadership. Together, LifeLine and DeKalb County leadership agreed that Dekalb County Animal Services must reduce the dog population at the shelter to 450 in 60 days and maintain the population at or below that number. They collaborated and decided on both short- and longer-term actions to help aid in this crisis including:

  • Working with staffing agencies for additional staff and support for cleaning.
  • Deploying personnel from other divisions within LifeLine to assist with animal care, management and training and restructuring staff schedules to ensure greater coverage, particularly on weekends.
  • Sadly, increasing euthanasia rates if necessary and continuing to do so until we reduce the dog population to 450 or less. If we cannot increase lifesaving outcomes beyond the current rate, we will have to euthanize 9 animals each day, or 63 animals each week.
  • Constructing an overflow campus adjacent to the shelter, designed to hold up to 120 additional dogs above the current target capacity and provide effective isolation areas, to help alleviate the need for euthanasia for population control. This solution will take time to build, staff and operate and until then we must get below 450 animals in the current building.
  • Improving communications between DeKalb County’s Animal Services Enforcement division and the shelter to more proactively address factors in the field that are causing animals to come into the shelter.
  • Increasing support to fund access to veterinary care for DeKalb pet owners in need, including subsidized and free spay/neuter, and targeting areas of DeKalb County yielding the highest number of animals impounded in the shelter.


What it will take to change the situation most, in the short-term, is simply fewer dogs in the building. We are asking our community to help us achieve those target dog population numbers because, without homes to go to, dogs will be euthanized for space, regardless of health and temperment. Please adopt or foster a pet today.

Fulton County Animal Services

Current Population of Dogs: 357
Sustainable Capacity for Dogs: 325

We’ve mentioned that there is hope on the horizon in Fulton County in the form of a brand new shelter facility preparing to open before the end of the year. However, this does not change the fact that the current facility is in dire straits. On average, 15 dogs are being euthanized for space each week. Each day, 16 dogs enter the facility. That’s, on average, 2 more dogs that come in than leave.

While some conditions will improve with the upcoming move to the new facility, rising intake and overcrowding will not be solved entirely by transitioning from one building to another. Fulton County is in desperate need of adopters and fosters, including Friendly Finders who are willing to foster a lost or stray dog through its mandated stray hold (3 to 5 business days total) instead of immediately dropping them at the shelter when found.

LifeLine Midtown

Current Population of Dogs: 105
Optimum Capacity for Dogs: 75

As an overflow facility, for every dog adopted at LifeLine Midtown, space opens up for another dog from the Fulton County Animal Services. And, because the shelter is smaller, it is a less overwhelming experience for individuals to visit and bring home a pet. Adopting a pet from LifeLine Midtown greatly supports the main Fulton County shelter. When the new Fulton shelter opens, the Midtown facility will close and any dogs still there will have to move to the new shelter.

LifeLine Community Animal Center

Current Population of Dogs: 111 
Optimum Capacity for Dogs: 60 

LifeLine’s Community Animal Center adoption center was designed as an overflow facility for our county shelters. Staff and volunteers also provide pets with special medical or behavioral challenges more time and attention to meet those needs. For dogs, the Community Animal Center is the primary overflow facility for the DeKalb County shelter. Because it is also full, our Community Animal Center is limited in serving these critical functions. Beyond just dogs, our staff is also caring for the majority of our organization’s cats. This adoption center, like our Midtown location, offers a calmer environment that may be easier to visit.

We Cannot Do This Alone

Two things can be true: we can be proud of what we’ve accomplished together as a community in 10 years’ time AND acknowledge the ways LifeLine needs to improve and persevere as an organization. We have committed ourselves to helping these animals, but we are limited now by a lack of space and resources, as well as external challenges in the communities we serve. We are also human and make mistakes. And, most importantly, we cannot do this alone. While we are pursuing all avenues toward long-term solutions, in the short term, we need a miracle. We need you.

We are asking our community to please foster or adopt a pet today. You will be truly saving a life.

If you have questions about any topic in this blog and would like to reach out, please email feedback@lifelineanimal.org or write to LifeLine Animal Project, ATTN: Operations 3180 Presidential Drive, Atlanta, GA 30340.

Thank you, Atlanta. For believing in our work and helping us save lives today and always.

February 2023

Hello, friends and supporters.  We wanted to share some critical updates and news as we turn the page on 2022, and enter 2023 in a much better position to give our deserving animals the love and space they need to thrive.

In January, on the heels of a Canine Flu outbreak, we were faced with a grim reality and life or death decisions. After more than a year of being at critical capacity at our DeKalb County Animal Services shelter, we were left with the heartbreaking possibility of having to euthanize animals for space. We had nearly 600 dogs in need of home (at just this one shelter). We put out a plea for help in the Greater Atlanta area, and in a mere 7 days, 373 dogs from DeKalb and 556 dogs from all LifeLine shelters found new homes! We are forever grateful to the Atlanta community for their support in our darkest hour. This is what lifesaving looks like.

By the end of January, our Fulton County Animal Services had fewer than 300 animals for the first time in almost a year. But within days of hitting that milestone, we were called in with law enforcement on a rescue case and brought more than 60 new impounded animals safely into our care. Each of these animals requires space, food and immediate medical care. Our Fulton shelter team was also tasked with running LifeLine Midtown, our temporary shelter that opened in early January during the Canine Flu outbreak to divert intake and keep dogs healthy. While it helped contain that outbreak, a new location strains precious resources and manpower, which has been challenging due to staffing shortages.

Number of Dogs in Need of Homes as of February 15th

The LifeLine Community Animal Center continues to aid in the efforts of freeing up space at our county shelters and helping dogs clear their quarantine period from the Canine Flu outbreak. Recent staffing hires have provided much needed relief to our existing teams. After the incredible number of adoptions at our DeKalb shelter, there are many animals in need of spay/neuter procedures. The Community Animal Center has stepped in to help temporarily house animals awaiting surgery and ensure that pets don’t have to wait any longer than necessary to go home with new, loving families. Fortunately, while the dogs in our care have been a major media focus in 2023, we have also happily seen a steady flow of cat adoptions at the Community Animal Center and have enough open cat housing space to prepare for a busy kitten season to start in the spring.

It’s been a busy start to the new year. And, while we are celebrating the wins, the hard work isn’t over. Even though we successfully saved many lives, 20-40 dogs come into our county shelters every single day and they need your help to find their way home. 

What We Need Most Now:
  • Volunteers and new staff are urgently needed to keep this much-needed LifeLine Midtown shelter up and running, as well as help at our other locations.
  • We always need adopters and fosters to place more pets into homes where they belong.
  • We need good Samaritans in our community to help lost pets make their way back home instead of to the shelter. Find out what to do if you should find a lost pet.
  • And, if you can’t foster or adopt, please consider making a donation.


As always, thank you for your critical support.

November 2022

AN URGENT PLEA FROM OUR CEO TO THE CITY OF ATLANTA

The current situation in our Atlanta animal shelters is dire. The animals in our care do not have the space they need, or deserve, and we need your help. Our hard working teams are understaffed and working extreme overtime to ensure that kennels are clean, bowls are full, and the pets in our shelters are well cared for. Our volunteers walk hundreds of dogs a day. And it’s still not enough. We have teams covering rescue, adoptions, marketing, volunteers, and foster parents, all working tirelessly to find homes and other ways Atlanta’s pets can get out of the shelter. This is not the life our city’s animals deserve. This state our shelters are in is not sustainable for the pets nor the people who care for them. Animal shelters have never been, and will never be, the ideal solution for the animals.

Atlanta, we urgently need your help. Our animals are in desperate need of homes. Each of our shelters have exceeded capacity by the hundreds. DeKalb County Animal Services has nearly 600 dogs and over 50 cats in the building, Fulton County Animal Services has almost 400 dogs in a building meant to hold 80. The more pets in our care, the harder it is to make sure they are living as comfortably as they deserve during their time with us. We are meant to be a temporary refuge for pets in need, not a home. Pets cannot thrive here, especially when there is an overwhelming amount of them.

We know you’ve heard this plea before. And we hope you’ll hear it now. The situation is not improving. There are more animals in our care than ever and they really need your help. We need your help.

Adopt: Whether you’re looking for a calm couch potato, walking partner, or anything in between, there are over 1,000 deserving pets waiting for you.

Foster: If you have just two weeks to help a pet, that can make all of the difference. Sign up here.

Donate: We need monetary donations and supplies to continue caring for this many animals each day. You can help by donating here or sending us much-needed items from our Amazon wishlists.

Help lost pets: Most pets are found within a mile of their home. If they come to a shelter, their chances of being reunited greatly declines. If you find a pet, follow these steps or become a friendly finder.

Spay/Neuter: Unlike humans, dogs and cats give birth to 4-to-6 animals in one litter. Also, dogs can give birth up to twice a year and cats up to 5 times a year! Because they can produce so many offspring each year, it is important to spay/neuter your pet as soon as possible to reduce pet overpopulation. Learn more here about the benefits and how to book an appointment with one of our Spay/Neuter clinics.

September 2022

We wish we had better news to share, but right now, the shelters are still struggling. There is a lot of pressure right now on the county shelters to be the lifeline for more pets than the shelters have space to house. The reason for this overcrowding is simple: more animals are coming in than are leaving.

In August, we saw a total of 601 dogs adopted, but 863 came in during that same time. That’s 262 more dogs entering our already full buildings. 

Number of dogs that need homes:

  • 337 dogs in need at our Fulton County shelter
  • 526 dogs in need at our DeKalb County shelter
  • 81 dogs in need at our Community Animal Center

The situation is dire. We are urging our communities in Fulton and DeKalb Counties to please not bring healthy pets they find straight to the shelter as first response. Please take a few steps in the first 48 hours to get lost pets back home where they belong.

This does not mean pets will be without support in the community. Those injured or sick are always a top priority. We’re trying to make more space for those most in need. And, we are also trying to find solutions for humans in emergency situations who have run out of options.

Here are a few things anyone can do to help during this crisis:

June 2022

You are the next chapter in animal welfare.

Animal shelters have never been, and will never be, the ideal solution for the animals. They have always been a flawed answer to a bigger community challenge of how to best help lost, stray and unwanted pets. 

Across the nation, all communities are facing the aftershocks of the pandemic. For animal shelters, those challenges include overpopulated and understaffed facilities, higher intake and fewer adopters, and a substantial decrease in rescue transfer support. In Atlanta, we’ve had to restrict intake at varying levels due to the severe overcapacity status at both county shelters. 

But over the last few years, and through the recent challenges, we’ve begun to see how a critical shift, and a different path forward, can actually save the lives of the animals in our community without having animals languish in shelters.

Over 60% of the animals in a shelter are stray/lost pets. Imagine if the shelters didn’t exist to collect all the lost and stray pets of a community. What if the community itself was able to help those pets find and reunite with their families? 

63% of animals are found just a mile from their home (26% are just a block away). If neighbors could reunite pets with their families, instead of bringing them to the shelter, our shelters would always have space to help those with nowhere to go.

What if the community could help struggling neighbors rehome their pets instead of turning them over to a shelter? What if more resources were spent on keeping pets and people together instead of housing pets in a crowded shelter? If we, as a community, could shift the focus to support each other in creative and practical ways, the shelters wouldn’t be overcrowded with lost pets missing their families, or abandoned pets looking for new homes. There will always be a need for shelters to help animals in emergency situations and victims of animal cruelty, but the real safety net for pets is a caring community – neighbors helping neighbors. 

Especially now, when the need continues to exceed available sheltering resources, we believe we must find more community-centric solutions by working together with pet-lovers and good samaritans to get more pets home where they belong. 

LifeLine does not believe killing healthy and treatable pets to make more space in a shelter is ever the right answer. Population management through euthanasia has never worked. Reliance on euthanasia constrains the development of lifesaving solutions, and the results are always tragic.

When faced with external pressure to euthanize healthy and treatable animals to create more shelter space last month, we turned to our animal-loving community and in one week found foster and adoptive homes for 300+ pets. Atlanta, you are the ideal solution. With your help, we can weave together a new safety net for the animals in need. Whether you are a veteran rescuer or new to animal welfare, help us shift the response when we find lost and stray pets, so that more pets can be returned to their homes.

  • If you hear of situations where people need help with a found pet, help them find options, contact friends to find a foster home and help canvas the neighborhood to reunite families. Share this page.
  • If you read about someone needing to rehome a pet, share these resources and ask your neighbors and friends if anyone can help. The pet owner, rather than the shelter, will be able to find the best match for a loved pet. 
  • If someone is missing a pet, check the lost pet pages of our website to see if the pet ended up at the shelter.
  • If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, donate. If you can’t donate, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, become an ambassador and share information and resources.

Please continue to support our county shelters. Know that the staff is making the best decisions for every individual animal and human who comes to our doors with the resources that are available. 

Please extend the benefit of the doubt to learn more about decisions that are being made. The people who dedicate our lives to help animals in the shelter are not perfect, but we are doing their very best in every situation, for every individual pet, and we are working with very limited resources and the most challenging of circumstances. 

Right now, we are at a pivotal moment to change the course of animal welfare and lifesaving in our city. Animals deserve to be in homes and people deserve the love of a pet. Will you join us in committing to turn to each other to find ways to help the animals in your community? Are you in?  We are.

May 2022
Availability of
kennel space
Good amount Dangerously full

Metro Atlanta County Animal Shelters are Out of Space!

The county shelters have reached peak capacity and no longer have kennel space to house dogs. Because of the sheer volume, we have had to set up temporary crates to house new arrivals but this is not a sustainable or acceptable solution. 

This year we have seen a decline in adoptions by 14% and a 37% decline in the number of animals leaving with rescue partners (compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels). We also saw a decline in the number of lost pets finding their families again. Not only are there more animals currently in the shelters, but they are staying longer which impacts their physical and mental wellbeing. 

We URGENTLY need help to place our medium to large dogs into homes so that the shelters do not have to face difficult life or death decisions. We currently need to find 250 homes for dogs living at the DeKalb shelter. The Fulton County animal shelter is facing a similar situation and needs to find 150 homes this week. 

Here’s what we are experiencing currently across metro Atlanta.

DeKalb County Animal Services

Today, there are 560 dogs in our DeKalb facility*. In May 2019, prior to the pandemic the shelter held 440 dogs. Fewer animals are leaving the shelter, and animals are staying longer looking for homes. They’re waiting an average of 80 days at DeKalb County Animal Services.

Due to this critical status, Dekalb County and LifeLine Animal Project, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, are enacting emergency only intake protocols. This means the DeKalb shelter is only able to accept animals from emergency situations or in critical need (injured animals, animals involved in bite cases or cruelty situations). DeKalb County Animal Enforcement will also enforce these emergency protocols and will only respond to high priority calls.

*As of May 25, 2022, with the help of our community, the number of dogs housed at DeKalb County Animal Services has decreased to 433. We are making slow, but steady, progress towards reducing the number of pets housed at the shelter to a more comfortable threshold of 320. However, the situation remains critical and your continued help is needed to find homes for the pets in our care.

Fulton County Animal Services

There are currently 360  dogs in our Fulton facility**, which was built to house only 80 dogs. Dogs are waiting an average 40 days to be placed in a home, which is longer than previous years and is very stressful for the animals.

**As of May 25, 2022, thanks to our community’s help in response to an urgent plea for fosters and adopters, the number of dogs housed at Fulton County Animal Services has dipped below 300. Additionally, a generous volunteer has pledged to sponsor 100 dog adoptions this May at Fulton County. We always want to provide humane housing for the animals in our care and at the levels we are experiencing, that is extremely challenging. Our community’s continued help at this critical time is needed to find homes for the pets in our care.

Community Animal Center

Our Community Animal Center takes in pets from our county shelters to help alleviate space constraints. Right now, the center is full and can only take in more dogs when dogs currently in our care are adopted or head to foster homes. 

Last week, 128 cats arrived from our DeKalb and Fulton shelters. If you are looking for a cat, there are many available at the LifeLine Community Animal Center. There are also over 100 dogs available for adoption at this location.

Let's save lives together.

Please share this blog with your community and network to help more pets find the homes they deserve today.

Ways to Help

March 2022
Availability of
kennel space
Good amount Dangerously full

Critical Needs This Week: Adopters and Fosters

This February, we saw the highest intake levels on record for the month since LifeLine took over shelter management in 2013. Both of our county shelters are in the red zone for space availability! 

As we continue to face a growing space crisis, we turn our attention to the impact of crowding and the shelter environment on the health of our pets. It is a common misconception that pets may fare better in a shelter than in a home where the pet parent has to leave daily for work or doesn’t have a yard. There is no place like a home when it comes to animals.

Even with the incredible support of our staff and volunteers, it is impossible to replicate the calm and one-on-one attention a pet will receive in a home. Shelters, particularly at the capacity level we currently face, can be loud and overwhelming for many pets. Though they are safe and fed, the close proximity to so many other pets can lead to a spread in medical conditions. Ultimately, we see a deterioration of our pets the longer they spend in the shelter, along with added strain for our veterinary teams. 

Our goal is to see all of our pets find their way to a warm and loving home. We need help giving our shelter pets a break, including taking them out for a day or a weekend, while they await the arrival of their new family. We immediately see an improvement in our pet’s health and happiness when they are in a home. Plus, you can provide key insights on the dog or cat’s personality (which tends to shine beyond the shelter walls) to share with potential adopters!

We are facing a particular need for fosters for our pets that have medical needs, are part of an ongoing court case, and dogs that are larger in size. To find out more and help give our pets a break, check out our Foster page.

DeKalb County Animal Services

There are currently 471 dogs at DeKalb County Animal Services, 253 MORE than the ideal number of dogs that should be housed in our shelter here and putting us in the RED ZONE

The need for special care fosters is imperative.

Certain pets, such as those that have just given birth, are undergoing medical treatment or are part of a court case, deserve a quiet space and may need a little extra care. This can include receiving regular doses of medicine, restricted or regulated exercise regimes or extra space to care for their puppies. It is important that they have a home where they can relax, heal and rest stress-free. 

Fulton County Animal Services

The Fulton County Animal Services shelter is in the RED ZONE! There are 265 dogs in the shelter, an alarming 115 dogs over the ideal number of 150. This means some runs have up to five dogs sharing a space. As a result, the shelter is seeing an uptick in medical issues, particularly contagious ailments like upper respiratory infections.

Community Animal Center

In February 2022, the LifeLine Community Animal Center brought in 222 pets to help create space at our two county shelters. 94 dogs and 84 cats are waiting for a place to call home, with many more patiently waiting in foster homes.

Our animals are showing tremendous resilience, but we need urgent help from our community to provide these precious pets with homes! Our mission remains, as always, to save the lives of all healthy and treatable animals. We appreciate the support of our community!

Help us save lives together!

Share this blog with your community, and help get more pets into homes today!

Ways to Help

January 2022
Availability of
kennel space
Good amount Dangerously full
Availability of
kennel space
Good amount Dangerously full

We are kicking off the new year with an unfamiliar sight for this time of the year: shelters that are still full from this summer. Shelter space is unfortunately, yet typically, limited during the summer months, but this is the first time we have experienced such a continued strain on our shelter capacity and team.

The number of animals coming in our doors has increased by 12% over last year while the number of dogs adopted has decreased. People are also struggling to care for their pets and have been facing evictions and other challenges. This means more pets have been surrendered. Over the last two years, we have seen a 39% decline in the number of animals our rescue partners have been able to help pull to safety, largely due to factors resulting from the COVID pandemic. All of these challenges would be difficult alone but, like so many others, we are also facing severe labor shortages. We currently have 34 open positions across three locations, which means we are missing 13% of our workforce.

Between the staffing challenge and the number of staff who have been out sick due to the latest wave of the COVID-19 virus, we are struggling. Animal care is always our top priority. Our understaffed teams and volunteers are working doubly hard to care for all the animals in need, covering extra shifts and taking on additional responsibilities. In these times, we must depend even more so on our community’s support. By adopting, donating, volunteering, helping lost animals back home and finding new homes for those alone in the shelter, our community offers real and sustained hope for the animals in our care.

We are continuing to take in animals for emergency situations and for those who do not have any other options. Our Animal Service Officers and community support teams continue to provide resources, including access to veterinary care and pet supplies, pet lost and found assistance and self-rehoming options for animals in non-emergency situations. We always work with individuals facing financial hardship who need help for their pets. We often reduce or waive reclaim and surrender fees in the hopes of helping people and finding the best outcomes for the animals.

DeKalb County Animal Services

The ideal number of dogs that should be housed at DeKalb County Animal Services is 218. This allows us to house one dog per kennel with access to both sides of the kennel. We are currently in the red zone with 480 dogs in the building.

shelter dogs in their kennels
a shelter dog in a crate

Fulton County Animal Services

With Fulton County Animal Services being a smaller, older building, there is space to optimally house only 150 dogs. As of last week, there were 221 dogs in the shelter. This forces us to house multiple dogs in most of the kennels. Not only does this make cleaning the shelter a logistical challenge, but it means the environment is less than ideal for our animals. Our goal is to safely house a large population while mitigating risk of disease and shelter stress on the animals. If we had fewer dogs in the building, we could provide larger, single kennels for 26 of our larger breed dogs, who need individual housing, and who are currently residing in smaller cages.

Community Animal Center

In December 2021, the LifeLine Community Animal Center transferred in 170 pets from Fulton and DeKalb to help make space at the our two county shelters. We currently have 95 dogs and 102 cats looking for homes, and even more are waiting to find families while they live in foster homes.

kittens in a carrier coming into the shelter

We believe space limitations alone are an unacceptable reason to euthanize healthy and treatable animals. LifeLine has been able to achieve “no-kill,”  saving 90% or more of all the animals who enter our shelters, but we are only able to maintain this lifesaving achievement with the community’s support and advocacy. We know our community has the ability to provide the support needed to save precious lives.  Their lives depend on it.

Make a difference today!

Share this blog post with your community, and help get more pets into homes today.

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