A Letter From Our CEO
The overcrowding in our county shelters has reached a pivotal breaking point. In our commitment and desperation to save lives and support families facing economic hardships by taking in the pets they can no longer keep, we have stretched the shelters’ capacity and resources to unsustainable limits. We share your heartbreak and are also distraught, and agree that the current conditions in our shelters are no longer humane or sustainable.
We owe animals their lives, and we’ve tried to give them every chance to find a home, even when it meant more time in the shelter. We have fought and continue to fight for lifesaving options, rather than end their lives for lack of space. We kept hoping there would be a turning point where more animals consistently would leave these buildings than enter them. But, that has not happened, and we have hoped for too long. We acknowledge that we cannot humanely care for this many animals with the resources and space currently available. Without homes for the animals to go to, we are currently euthanizing for space and starting next week, must do so in much greater numbers to reach and sustain a safe, healthy, and humane environment.
DeKalb County Animal Services must reduce and sustain its shelter population to 450 dogs or less in the next 60 days. Today, 615 dogs are in the shelter. With the current rate of intake, this means that an average of 21 dogs must leave the shelter each day, whether through adoptions, foster, rescue transfers, or euthanasia.
We have similar challenges in Fulton County, where we currently have 375 dogs, many living 6 dogs to a kennel. We have the humane capacity to care for 300. There are also 105 dogs in the overflow shelter in Midtown. Each day, two more animals arrive than leave our Fulton County shelter. We must increase outcomes at the Fulton shelters as well.
Over the past year, we have discussed the myriad challenges, including staffing and veterinary shortages, at length with DeKalb County. Their leaders are partnering with us in support of several long-term solutions, which include overflow capacity and access to resources and veterinary care for pet owners in need. Most immediately, we are investing in additional staff and cleaning resources, stronger veterinary care teams, and increased access to spay/neuter. And in Fulton County, we have had similar conversations, and a new shelter is on the horizon.
But right now, what the animals desperately need is our community’s immediate help. LifeLine must maintain a lower dog population to improve shelter conditions. We have to prioritize the health and wellbeing of the animals, staff, and volunteers. We do not, however, want to kill healthy, friendly, and adoptable dogs because the shelters are full. Yet, without more support, that is currently the only remaining option. We are asking you, our community, to be the lifeline the animals so desperately need right now.
Please foster or adopt a dog so they can leave the shelter behind. You will truly be saving a life.
We are thankful for your support as we cannot meet this challenge without you and this community.
CEO, LifeLine Animal Project