Rabun Co, GA contracts a group called Rabun Paws 4 Life for animal control. The group describes itself on its website as a no kill, open admission shelter.
From the Rabun Paws 4 Life website, the April 2013 stats:
As shown in the April report, Rabun Co took in just a few strays in April 2013. The vast majority of its intake came from owner surrenders and born-in-shelter animals. In May, the group apparently ceased accepting owner surrenders, putting pets in need on an indefinite waiting list.
Snipped from the comments on this May 2013 Facebook post:
The group’s director says the facility has been “overwhelmed by the number of people surrendering […] or abandoning” their pets. You know what causes some owners to abandon pets? The local shelter refusing to accept owner surrenders. Although there is a widely held belief, promoted by snobs, that people surrender their pets to shelters because the animals don’t match the new carpet or because the pet is too old to be pretty anymore, the truth is that some people surrender their animals because they are desperate. They may be at their wit’s end over a behavioral issue they feel incapable of addressing or they may feel overwhelmed when a family member dies and leaves a pet behind. Desperate people take desperate actions. And if the “open admission” shelter offers the person nothing but placement on an indefinite waiting list, the crisis is made worse.
I heard from a reader who asked to remain anonymous that he had spoken to a volunteer at Paws 4 Life in June about surrendering a pet and was told the group is not accepting owner surrenders but that his name could be placed on a waiting list. The reader said he asked for an approximate length of time he would have to wait and was not given an answer except to say the list was “quite lengthy”. I reached out to Paws 4 Life on June 19 and asked about the waiting list for owner surrenders but never received a response. I also requested some additional stats since the April stats continue to be the only numbers available on the website.
Via FOIA request, I obtained a copy of Rabun County’s agreement with Paws 4 Life. Page 2 of the agreement makes clear that the group is supposed to be accepting owner surrenders, not placing them on an indefinite waiting list. Item 2C of the contract states that Paws 4 Life shall “receive, house and care for animals brought in by citizens who otherwise would abandon the animals”. In other words, Paws 4 Life is supposed to accept owner surrendered pets. Rabun Co paid Paws 4 Life more than $60k for one year of animal control services, including accepting owner surrenders. It appears that Paws 4 Life may not be meeting its obligations under the county contract. It further appears Paws 4 Life may be misleading the public by claiming to be an open admission no kill shelter.
124 thoughts on “Rabun Co Shelter Not Accepting Owner Surrendered Animals”
I wonder what they’re doing to get the animals out alive.
Marketing, Raburn, marketing! If you are stuck for space, get thee marketing!
Their adoption fee for cats is $65. Unless you’re talking barn cats, then it’s 2 for $25. Have a cat sale! Put them all up for the barn cat price! Move them out into homes and make room for new ones to come in!
The adoption fee for dogs is $95. They do have photos of their dogs (well, at least on the Petfinder and Adoptapet sites – their FB pages, yes, even the “shelter” one that they make hard to find even though it’s supposed to market their pets, is very sparse on the photos), but some don’t have details about the dogs.
They can increase adoptions and RTOs simply by being more aggressive in the marketing department. Get those photos out there – slather your FB pages with them! Tweet them out! Have sales! Have specials! Bake cookies and invite people in to just walk around and visit with the animals! Make it fun, make it easy, make it WORK.
Then they’d have to, you know, do something besides blame the irresponsible public about how awful they are. Maybe you ought to repost on their facebook page. Maybe, just maybe, someone who cares will try some of your good ideas.
Oh, I’m sure they’ll see this. ;)
I sure hope the director does read your comment
Blaming the irresponsible public who pay taxes has not helped the animals dire situation on bit. It’s time for plan B.
What is your suggestion for them?
Jodi, mikken’s comment is full of great suggestions. It seems as though you’re so determined to disagree with people that you’re not even bothering to read the comments you’re replying to. What is your stake in this?
My question about suggestions was actually meant for Sky Walker. I mistakenly responded to Mikken.
Jodi, I’m aware that your comment was intended as a reply to Sky Walker. You seem to be having trouble following the threading. I’m pretty sure everyone in this thread is referring to mikken’s comment, and that’s what Sky Walker’s “Plan B” is referring to.
Oh, the shelter director read the article alright. He’s busy slamming me on the ‘shelter’ page because I agreed with the article and shared it on facebook.
Sky Walker, do you have any creative suggestions for Rabun Paws4Life?
sarahjaneb, I forgot to answer one of your questions: I have no stake in Rabun Paws4Life. I do not work for them. The only time I have volunteered for them,was to volunteer to transport a FIV+ cat from their shelter to a closed admission nokill shelter close to where I live. A shelter they compassionately sought out for this cat. A place where she would live out the remainder of her days.
I would like to see them succeed as Georgia’s first No-Kill shelter.
If you want to see them succeed, why do you not want their problems pointed out? How do you succeed without knowing what you’re doing wrong?
Many are good at pointing out the problems but not many willing to come up with solutions. I am concerned with Sky Walkers Plan B. I would like to hear it.
I see. So you think if someone is being paid to do something and they’re not doing it, you shouldn’t mention that they’re not doing their job unless you have some advice for them about how to get it done? Aren’t they getting paid to figure that out? I mean I hire people all the time to do things that I don’t know how to do, so I have no advice, but if they’re not doing the job they were hired for I feel that I’m well within my rights to point it out. For example I don’t know much about wiring, but if I hire someone to wire a switch and the light isn’t turning on and off when I flip the switch, I’m going to say something. If someone is being paid to run an open admission shelter and they can’t figure out how to keep it open admission, can’t people point that out even if they don’t know how to fix it? Why would it be different?
I follow your posts and agree with a lot of what you post. There are, however, some things I don’t agree with, but I keep reading because we all are allowed our own opinions.
I live in GA. I have been to the shelter you are talking about. I even applied for the position of shelter director when it came available.
This is a nice shelter with a great group of employees and volunteers who work diligently to place these animals. Meanwhile trying to right a wrong that none of them were involved in. They are working on transports, they have fosters, they are marketing these animals. They even advertise the owned animals that need re-homed. They have a compassionate director and a very involved BOD.
They also have, yes, I am going to say it… “SOME” irresponsible public. No, the public is not all bad, they don’t all dump animals or refuse to s/n their pets, but some do…and those “some” are the reasons for many of the abandoned animals roaming the roads of our state.
Yesbiscuit, you live in SC. Please be 100% honest and tell me that you have never seen or heard of someone dump an animal or an unwanted litter that could have been prevented.
Just yesterday, an acquaintance called me wanting to get rid of their dog… a lovely young pibble. Why? because she is running with other dogs and they saw her “hook up”. Did this couple accept my numerous offers of a FREE spay thru our group? NO! they wanted to breed her to get a blue pit. Nothing I could do in the dozens of times I tried would change their mind. Even when I helped treat her for demodectic mange and told them in would pass on to her pups, even when we provided food and explained how much puppy food costs to properly feed a pregnant mom and then a litter of pups,. It didn’t matter. Now, she has hooked up with another dog and won’t get blue pups…they want to abandon her. All of this was explained to them, all the help we could provide wasn’t enough to keep this dog in their home with the care she deserves. I told her what options she has now (pill, quick spay) and how we could help. Nope! she now has her mind set on a new dog…one that won’t attract other dogs and mess up her yard.
No one can tell me that there is no irresponsible public.
One last thing, the adoption fees that were mentioned…those are very low. When you are a small organization with an overhead, you must have some income besides the contract. As of a few months ago, they were still working on their 501C3 status. An organization can only “eat” so much of the costs of saving animals. I’m sure, from experience, they already “eat” the medical costs of transported animals.
There are so many shelters that you should be bringing into the light for the world to see the wrong they are doing. How about the readers on this site do something to help Rabun Paws4Life be successful in their mission of No Kill? Share one of their Petfinder posts or FB messages. Sponsor an animal. Send a donation. This group is truly working hard to do what is right. A shelter is only so big and in a GA county, the need is often bigger.
So what if some people who surrender animals are irresponsible? Which part of the post is this supposed to address or refute? Does it somehow change the fact that Rabun Paws 4 Life is apparently in violation of its contract?
I really don’t think most of the posters care about what the contract says. I’m sure most wouldn’t care if the contract said “kill within 3 days of intake” and they weren’t. Which of you would complain then? These people are saving lives.
But that’s not what the contract says. They are in violation of the contract that is intended to save lives, and when they turn away owner surrenders, there’s a good chance that those animals aren’t going to another no kill shelter. They are not saving the lives they’re supposed to. Open admission means open admission.
Furthermore, to address your absurd “what if,” if an organization has a contract that says they’re supposed to kill animals, the terms of the contract are a problem, but violating the contract does not solve the problem. If the contract is violated then someone else who’s more willing to kill will take over. Violating the contract is never the right thing to do. If you don’t want to kill animals you don’t enter into a contract to do so in the first place. If you want to save animals and you enter into a contract to do so then you should abide by the terms of the contract.
Irresponsible people will always be with us. We can’t legislate them away, we can’t force them to be responsible, and they won’t be shamed into it. In pragmatic terms, all we can do is mitigate the harm they cause, by taking in their pets at risk and getting them to safety.
A part of this are good owner-surrender policies – where people who would rather not surrender their pets are given what aid is possible to retain them, and if that’s not possible or refused – for whatever reason and without public judgement – shelters them and finds them new homes. Because what’s important here are the pets, their safety, their lives, not our moral outrage.
Thank you for shinning some much needed light on the plight of animals in our county!
Jodi, I disagree that, “There are so many shelters that you should be bringing into the light for the world to see the wrong they are doing.” This is wrong doing. This program was sold as open admission and it’s clearly not. Not only that, we cannot get AC to pick up an animal in need and the stray problem is growing.
Sky and everyone else. Open admission means we will accept any breed. Chris our director has worked very hard to get animals out to make room for owner surrenders. And some of the people that are on the waiting list get help from us with food till they can bring their animal in. In the last month we have transferred over 30 dogs to NO KILL shelters up north. I have been on 2 transports and almost every dog we have taken have already been adopted. We are going again in a few weeks. And there is 3 or 4 more transports going out in July. If there is such a big stray problem in Sky Valley have you called your police dept or animal control. We require that a animal can not be picked unless it has been around for 72 hours and this is to give the animal a chance to go home. If the public would give more support to the shelter(money) maybe we could get more animals. Do you know how much it takes to house a dog or cat, spay/neuter, shots, vaccines, food? Come down and see how hard everyone is working. Better yet volunteer, foster and donate whether food, litter, laundry soap(we do 4 to 6 loads a day of towels and blankets, paper towels, dishwashing soap( all bowls are done in dishwasher).
Mikken We also have had specials on cats or kittens for $30 or 2 for $50 and an adoption event with dogs for $45 and in June dogs were $50. Getting a cat for $65 is a bargain and so is dogs for $95.. Spay/neuter cost Paws $50 and rabies $5 plus all the other shots and vaccines they give. We have spend thousands saving dogs and cats that were either sick or injured. Now if Paws was a kill shelter they would have put them down. Our vet bill is nearing $10,000 yet people are complaining. If more people would donate money we could afford to transport more animals to other No Kill shelters up north. So stop complaining and do something.
Susan, I’m pleased to hear that you’re running specials! But again I have to say that your marketing is not where it needs to be. You can increase adoptions/RTOs AND get more donations by marketing better.
Get those photos up on your facebook pages. Tweet a pet a day (or one cat, one dog!). Tell people the good you’re doing in their neighborhood. Happy adoption stories with photos. You’re VALUABLE to the community, but you need to show them that and you need to show it over and over and over again. Because life it out there and it happens to folks all day long. You want them to think kindly of you and send you some donations? You have to be there in their thoughts and they have to be GOOD thoughts. None of this “this poor dog was abandoned on the side of the road in the rain, why do people suck so much?” crap. Positive press.
And tell people what you need, make it as easy as possible to donate items. Send thank you notes for things donated.
Get the word out. And keep getting it out. You’re not just marketing pets, you’re marketing for the future.
My local humane society always has adopt one, get one free for all cats and kittens all the time. You might not make as much money, but it does help to get them adopted more quickly. And, quite frankly, two kittens are always better than one!
Sky why don’t you quit pointing out what is wrong, even contractually and point to what is right? Which is a far cry from where that shelter was last summer. Anyone in shelter/rescue knows that nothing is ideal and most they can do is work their asses off and use the resources available to do the best they can. If you are so worried about the strays go get your dog catching net and get busy. All talk and no action, like the butt buns flapping around a asshole.
I am the shelter director for Rabun Paws 4 Life, and all I am going to say is that I am proud of the job we are doing. We are not perfect. We have a long way to go. But we are making a difference in Rabun County. Can we save every cat and dog in Rabun County? No. We do not have the space. I guess some people may wish we had more space, but I refuse to go the route of so many other shelters out there and kill for space. As for special or reduced adoption fees, we have them all the time. All you have to do is look on our Facebook page and scroll down at all of the specials we have had since I have been director.
*Free adoptions for persons 55 and over
*Reduced adoption fees for black cats/dogs
*Blood drive in which donors receive discounted adoption rates
*$50.00 dog adoption fee from June 1-June 15th
These are some of the specials we have. If someone comes in and can give a dog a great home, we work with them on the adoption fees. Can we give cats and dogs away for free? If we did that, we wouldn’t be around very long because the money would run out. But none of the good things we are doing were mentioned in this article. That is why I invite anyone to come to our shelter. Volunteer. Donate. Take a tour. Foster. Adopt. This will help the cats and dogs a lot more than writing blogs or Facebook posts that try to discredit our mission.
I have been open and forthright with the public about our waiting list. As of last week, we have began calling people on the waiting list and taking in pets. Animal control has also been bringing in strays again. So the average wait was about 1 1/2 to 2 months for owner surrenders. I like to think that that is a lot better than no wait because cats and dogs were killed to make space for the animals on the waiting list. But that will not happen at Rabun Paws 4 Life. You did not mention that we give food to the people holding cats or dogs until we can make space available. You did not mention the fact that we have provided medications to these cats and dogs while they wait for space. Maybe if you came to the shelter and volunteered, you would be able to also write about the good things we do.
Is our system perfect? No. Are we going to give up? No. Animals do not have to be euthanized to make space for more animals. We do not want to have stacks of crates full of cats and dogs waiting for kennel space. So we do the best we can with the space we have. There is no “pound” in Rabun County where strays can be taken and euthanized to make space for more animals. We are it. There is only so much space. So people can criticize us for not being able to take in all the strays and owner surrenders. They can argue we have a contract. I understand that people may be frustrated when we tell them we are full and ask for them to be patient. But none of this helps the animals. What do you want to happen? Paws 4 Life to close down so no animals in Rabun County are helped? The county to take over and create a pound? They will most likely use the same space we occupy. The only question would be whether the pound would euthanize for space. Is that what people want?
I love Rabun County. I love the people, and I love the animals. I will do my very best to take care of them. But having to respond to so much criticism takes way too much time and energy. I will not respond any further. I respect all of you and your opinions. I just ask that you tell the whole story, and to do that you need to come to the shelter to see what we do every day.
This shelter is staffed by a very hardworking and dedicated staff and group of volunteers. They simply do not have room. There is nowhere for them to go at the shelter. Please don’t bash them for being full….volunteer, adopt a pet, make a donation. Those would all be helpful…this isn’t.
I volunteer at Paw 4 Life and I can tell you all of us, paid staff and volunteers alike, are doing everything we can. None of us like to tell someone that there is no room, and we always offer food and whatever other assistance we can until we can take the dog or cat. We never turn away puppies or kittens. We do our best to find fosters for as many as possible.
Please tell me what we are suppose to do with the dogs that people want to surrender or abandon when we are already over capacity? The previous shelter killed animals to make room…we are not going to do that! When we say there is no room there is simply NO ROOM! If you really want to help why don’t you become a foster,or adopt, or sponsor a dog for adoption by someone who can’t afford it. Be part of the solution instead of the problem!
Instead of complaining about the shelter, what steps have you taken to solve the problem? They only have so much room to house the animals. They are doing the best they can with what they have to work with. How much time or money have you spent volunteering at Rabun Paws 4 Life?
Oh by the way, The guy that posted it on FB. That is alias. Yes, of yours truly Skywalker. ….Justin Funn, yeah right.
Skywalker and anyone else. Would you rather we put dogs down just so a owner can bring their dog in to surrender? Hell no we wont do that, We have put dogs that people want to surrender on FB and several have found new homes. Do you realize that people from other parts of GA,SC, and NC dump their dogs in our county. There are parts of the county that residents call us several times cause people dump dogs in that area, Rabun County is full of forest and people think a dog can survive there. Skywalker where is your support for Paws? None. All you do is complain and sit on your computer like Alison Hector did when Boggs was going down and Paws started up. And yes for awhile I didn’t support Paws do to some of the people connected with Paws were not there to support the animals but to promote their own rescue in SC and to promote their store. Well now they gone and I am in full support of Paws is trying to do. Skywalker how about buying us a farm so we can put up kennels and take in every dog and cat people want to surrender. Get a life Skywalker(aka Nancy Osborn aka Justin Funn), do something and quit complaining. The world is not perfect and neither are you.
Hello all. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Justin. I am both the Adoption and In-Take Manager at Rabun Paws 4 Life. Both Chris, the Director, and I started in February. We’ve both worked ourselves to the bone to establish this as a new shelter, apart from what was the old shelter. It seems like we’re still judged by the past instead of what we’re doing in the present. We’ve been able to find 4 transports for our babies here, and we’ve even been able to maintain an astounding 96% LIVE RELEASE. We don’t claim to be perfect in what we do, but we do claim to give every single day our best effort for the sake of the animals here that can’t fight their own fight. I’m a father of 5 amazing children, and I love this job so much because all of our animals are like an extension of my family. I have a huge heart and just like with my family, I give 100% effort in everything that has to do with them. I maintain the website, and I’m sorry for not having May’s numbers up, but a simple email or call can always change that, as I had uploaded the numbers to the site but forgot to change the link. Negative comments such as, “they don’t appear to count last month’s stats” do little outside of creating a cesspool of mudslinging words, Sky. Yes, we have a waiting list. If you’d like to know why, just ask. No need for public forum mudslinging, just ask. I’ll be glad to answer, the reason is because at our current count we are over 219% capacity. While it may sound great to you to say ‘they should take every dog everyone finds at any given time’ the realistic person would agree that a waiting list is best. If we were to take in all those on the waiting list at once it would create an even worse situation than what the animals are in now. It would create the chance for an outbreak due to cramming in as many dogs as possible into a kennel. It would make the dogs much less adoptable due to the amount of stress they would be under from having to share the kennel with so many other dogs. It would also make my job of behavioral training with the dogs impossible since they need to be by themselves in a kennel. As you can see, there are so many more variables to this situation than you probably knew, and honestly…it’s ok. I don’t expect you to truly know what goes on in a week here at Rabun Paws 4 Life, because I’ve yet to see you come down and volunteer your time. It’s a shame, all I’ve seen of you have been negative comments and berating phone calls to us. Why not direct your energy towards helping a cause instead of trying to break it down? Why not volunteer some time, or donate some money for building more kennels? Why choose to spend your time sitting on the sidelines and being negative? Redirect that energy, refocus it in positivity and do something to help instead of hinder. Whatever you’re angry with, it’s not Chris, it’s not myself, it’s not the workers here at Paws 4 Life or even the shelter itself. Every single day we all give our 100% to improving and making this shelter the best it can be. Take a real look at our numbers, you’ll see we’re finding homes for these babies at a very good clip, and we’re also taking in animals at any even larger clip. I may only be 33 years old but I’ve seen enough of life and been through enough that I know, you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem, why would you choose to be part of the problem?
Here would be my suggestions on Plan B – develop a marketing campaign to get more animals adopted. How about a Fourth of July celebration that offers 1/2 price adoptions or adoptions for $17.76 – get your press release out to the public and ask for their help, rather than blaming them?. How about developing a program that helps people keep animals in their homes similar to the one that Nevada Humane has? How about talking to your staff about GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE that causes people to want to stop by to donate, to volunteer, to adopt. How about schooling your field agents to find the owners of stray animals rather than bringing them into the shelters? How about holding a foster orientation marathon so that you gather more foster homes for cats & dogs that need out of the shelter? How about reaching out even further to rescue groups that can help – put a plea out to supporters to sponsor the dogs/cats that make them even more attractive to smaller, budget strapped rescues? How about offering to DRIVE THEM to the rescue yourself? All are options that are better than turning away people who need help IMHO.
No Kill Buffalo-Niagara
Hello Clara, you’re suggestions are wonderful. However, we do drive to rescues and even meet over half-way to rescues that are as far as Ithica, NY. We do have a 4th of July celebration and we’ve been offering 1/2 discounts on all dogs and cats. Myself and Chris are constantly updating Facebook and our local email blast while also using our local radio network and newspaper. We have a VERY good track record with our community save for the few who like to slander our mission. We have excellent customer service and great volunteers who are always finding ways to get us donations. We don’t have field agents, but we do offer food and medical services tot he animals we can’t currently bring in to the shelter. We have a very good amount of Foster homes but can always use more as we currently have between 20-30 fostered animals at any given time. We have been doing all of these things, I don’t think the people on here quiet realize we’ve only been in existence since November of 2012 and we have to be in existence for at least a year to get a lot of our grants. A lot of these problems will cease to be problems once some of the public naysayers give us time to actually set our feet on the ground. We’re in an area of over population with animals, an area with very loose regulations on breeding, and an area where stray animals can roam for days. Our biggest ally in controlling the issues of over population has been our lost cost spay/neuter program. It nips our problem right in the bud. I’d love to hear any more of your suggestions, because as I mentioned we are new and we don’t know everything. Thank you for your ideas and I look forward to hearing any more. In fact, if you’d like to contact me directly my email is email@example.com I’m always up for suggestions and anything that can help the shelter.
“very loose regulations on breeding”? I hope that doesn’t mean you are advocating for MSN locally. MSN is inconsistent with no kill.
YesBiscuit, I’m not advocating anything with my statement, I’m simply stating what the regulations are here, which allows for backyard breeders to do as they please and dump where they want. It’s a sad but true reality we face in the southern states. One of our big pushes here at the shelter is our low cost spay and neuter program, which of course, helps maintain the population of stray animals.
“Dump where they want” – I’m not sure that I’m following you there. What exactly are the laws you feel you need in Rabun Co to help you?
Added: A quick Google search turns up this state statute for Georgia:
I can see where you might not understand what I’m saying. As the In-Take Manager, I get calls from people who have found boxes of kittens dumped in front of Camp gates, puppies dumped at construction sites, kittens and pups dumped at the garbage dump. I won’t get into politics and beliefs on any website but I’ll kindly talk about it over lunch. I’m an easy person to get along with, and a great person to talk with. Perhaps one day we can sit down to a lunch together and discuss our beliefs? I’m always interested in how people think and how they develop their ideals. Here, I simply state the facts and try to show everyone I do my two jobs to the best of my ability. if it’s not good enough, I’m always open to suggestions on anything I can do better. I didn’t get to where I am in life, thinking, I was the only one who had the answers :-)
Puppies and kittens are the first to be adopted around here. Surely you can come up with some marketing that would get them into homes (spayed/neutered first, of course).
I market the puppies and kittens via Facebook, 4 adoption sites and our website, which I maintain. I also am the one who takes the pictures, puts them into the adoption sites. I also do the local radio “Coffee Talk” once a month and as mentioned before we advertise our sales on an email blast known as Town Crier. Is there something I’m missing for advertising? Just saying marketing is not really answer, I’d love to hear some more in-depth analysis on exactly what could be righted. Also, feel free to check out our Facebook page for our advertising, is there something that could be improved there? i would honestly love to know.
Go to the shelter’s FB page right now and see how far you have to scroll down before you see an animal up for adoption. Those photos of available cats and dogs should be SLATHERED all over that page, with your hardest to move case (and special deal to help move him/her) in the banner with a lovely photo.
Have a section (easily found) for strays to get them seen and hopefully RTO. Put those strays up on craigslist as “found”, your local lost/found FB pages (all over the region, if you can – never know when someone had a pet stolen and dumped in the next county by an angry neighbor or whatever). Pets that already have a home should get out of your shelter as soon as possible, so get those photos out there wherever you can. Enlist the help of the community to encourage RTOs!
Help your foster families – have a “foster of the day” story with photos and the foster writing up a description of the pet and heavy on details (these people LIVE with these animals, so they know them best). Keep it honest (not good with kids or not cat safe or whatever) and keep it POSITIVE! Get those fosters into forever homes!
In short, get those pets SEEN. Anywhere, everywhere. Invite people in just to play with the kittens. No pressure, let them fall in love. Ask folks to come walk a dog – they don’t have to be volunteers, just remind them that after a hard day, it’s really good for you to just stop by and throw a ball for a dog. Good for your blood pressure, good for your soul. The more interactions you get, the more traffic you get, the more animals you’ll adopt out, the more supporters you’ll have. ENGAGE the community – not just the die hard animal people, you’ve already got them. Reach out further. You are a VALUE to the community at large – remind them of that in a way that will endear you to them. Even if the people you’re reaching aren’t adopting/donating, you never know whom THEY are reaching and talking to.
Now that is good advice. We have been so busy posting missing or free to a good home pets that we have veered away from marketing our own pets. Thank you!
Clara Miller at No Kill Buffalo-Niagara: Can we transport some our doggies to you the next time we transport to the SPCA of Tompkins County? We have lots of doggies that have been with us awhile. We can drive as far north as Harrisburg, PA if you can meet us there. Thanks!
I am not in any way speaking for Clara but merely replying to this post to ask a question: Are you now accepting owner surrenders (by appointment or walk-in) or is there still an indefinite waiting list that people are being placed on?
We work with a few rescue partners already and have had good relationships with them for years. We partnered with one when we were a relatively new group and did so because we supported their no-kill mission. They reached out to us and we helped them with a special needs dog. At no time did they threaten us with “if you don’t help, we are going to have to euthanize”. Instead they came to us with “Please help so we can help others. She is safe, but needs more than we are able to give her at a shelter”. Our relationship with them has grown to one where we help them with special needs dogs when we can and they also send us those dogs that are highly adoptable here so a win-win for both of us. We ignore the “pull or they will die posts”, because we feel that it is more important for us to take from groups that go above and beyond to help themselves.
We have many shelters that contact us and ask for help, what we can do, we do, but we will not be blackmailed, will not be threatened and will not jump through hoops to rescue a dog when there are shelters out there that make rescuing easy and satisfying.
I’m not saying that is what you do/don’t do – just giving you some insight into how to reach out to rescue groups for help and get responses.
It is up to you to reach out to rescue groups and develop the trust in each other. We would love to help every shelter, but cannot – so we tend to help those that work hard to help themselves.
My 2 cents
Hi nkbn…I’m not Chris, but I am one of the volunteers at Rabun Paws 4 Life and I can tell you that no one there, including Chris, would ever attempt to ‘intimidate’ anyone into taking any of our babies. Every dog and cat in our shelter has a name and we love each and every one of them and have no intention of euthanizing any of them. In fact many tears have been shed over the few that have been too sick to save and they have been very few since we opened 7 months ago! I have read this entire thread and do not see anywhere that any of us have said anything that could be interpreted as a ‘threat to euthanize’ if someone doesn’t take some dogs or cats out of our shelter…in fact quite the opposite. In the above post I see only where Chris asks if you might possibly be willing to take some of our dogs who have been with us for a long time, and an offer to meet you in Harrisburg, PA. on one of our transports. I am struggling to understand your response.
While I appreciate your advice, I would never use the threat of euthanasia or harm to the dog or cat to foster a transport partnership. That would be wrong, and it would be a lie. Thanks you for your suggestions, though.
Do you have any information on what has happened to all the pets who have been turned away by your group these past months?
We still have a waiting list for owner surrenders, but made a serious dent in the numbers over the last 2 days. We have taken in 22 animals in 2 days, which was a combination of owner surrenders, strays and one bite dog. We also found that many of the people on the waiting list has chosen to keep their pet, and thanked us for donations of food and/or medicines to help them get through a rough spot. I have made a few new transport partners, and have more transports lined up. Stay tuned! We will get through this and succeed in saving lives!
Is your transport the main thing you are relying upon to get pets out of your facility alive?
Will you help Rabun paws 4 Life achieve it’s mission of saving dogs and cats. We are currently at 218% capacity, and would love to transports some of our wonderful cats and dogs to you to find forever homes. We can transport as far as Harrisburg, PA. All of our cats or dogs are up to date on vaccinations, are microchipped, and are spayed/neutered if of the appropriate age. We are a relatively new group, but we are focused on helping as many cats and dogs as possible. Due to the number of animals at our facility, I feel we are not able to give each dog or cat the individual attention they deserve. I would love to discuss a partnership with your organization. I can be reached at 706-782-5422 or though my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time.
Oh yes and we don’t respond to passive/aggressive pleas either. ;)
I can’t win!! Seriously, if you are ever in a position to help us, let me know. I am very serious about saving these dogs and cats lives. We REALLY are trying.
We don’t play dirty pool here. Knock it off.
Who is playing “dirty pool”? And no, transports are not the only thing we rely on. We rely on in house adoptions, off site adoptions, and marketing. I have already agreed with mikken that we could do a better job of marketing. As for the animals that we “turned away”, we maintain a waiting list, call to check on the pets, and offer food or medicine if they need it. While I admit it is not perfect, it is better than the alternative of euthanizing the cats or dogs to make space for more. By this, I am not stating that you advocate this is any way. I have been really surprised by this blog in both good and bad ways. But I have always been open to learning new ways to do things, and am taking a lot away from the helpful comments that have been made. Thank you all for caring for the animals. Despite any differences, I really feel the passion in all of you for God’s creatures.
Bless you all!
There is at least one person, and I suspect many others, who opted not to leave their name on your indefinite waiting list because they needed help quickly. No one knows what happened to those animals. It’s misleading to exclude them and talk only about people thanking you.
Don’t you think it is also ‘misleading’ for you to have started a blog outlining only negative things about our shelter? How much do you know about the history of animal shelters in Rabun County GA? What do you know about the legislation, or lack thereof, in our area/county/state in regards to companion animals? Have you ever been to our shelter, met anyone who works there, or know anything about how we came to be? Who are you to criticize us for doing our best, just because we interpret some things differently from you?
As to the ‘waiting list’…it was that person’s choice not to take us up on our offer of food, vetting, etc. and I seriously doubt that this person left a phone number for us to follow up with them. We can’t force anyone to accept what we offer…and we can only offer what it is possible for us to do at the time.
As I have stated several times already, I reached out to your director personally and waited a long time for a response before posting. I was hoping to learn more before posting but when i received no response, I posted the info I had.
You are a guest here. Don’t walk into my house with your “Who do you think you are?” tactics.
YesBiscuit, personally speaking…the only persons I’ve known to not want to be put on the waiting list have been the Osbournes. Everyone I’ve ever helped has, in fact, added their name to the waiting list and been offered food and anything else they might need. The only reason I knew it was Newt Osbourne(SkyWalker) was because we have caller ID, and their reason for not wanting to be put on the waiting list was because they couldn’t catch the dog that was wondering the neighborhood. I offered to call Animal Control for them, since that is what they do. Newt refused and rudely hung up on me. I’m not judging him in any way, to each their own, I am however stating a fact that everyone I’ve ever talked to on the phone or in person has opted to join the waiting list and if they were in dire need I found a way to get the animal into the shelter.
mikken, thank you for your great response. I’ve started a new page this morning that specifically allows posting of Free to a Good Home animals. this allows our shelter page to be used for our shelter pets. Thank you as well for being specific and knowledgeable towards the help I was inquiring about. If you’d ever like to contact me via email, please do, email@example.com i would love to use your knowledge as an asset for helping our shelter.
Same goes for me when I am working the front desk at the shelter…I have only once had anyone refuse to be put on the waiting list either on the phone or in person. One morning when I was on the front desk a young man came in with a stray he wanted us to take…when told we had no room for the dog this fella said he would just take him in the woods and shoot him…we made room. We would not want to know that a dog or cat died because we didn’t have room, anymore than we would want to euthanize to make room. It was a horrible situation to be in but any of us there would have taken the dog home with us personally before allowing some jerk to shoot it!!! It was also very intimidating to those of us working there and just trying to do our job.
As I said in my post, I was not accusing anyone of anything, just giving my take on what it takes for shelters to gather rescue partners to save more animals. So to answer directly, no we do not have room for another rescue partner, we have relationships with other shelters that we are happy with and do not have room for more partners at this time. But there are thousands of rescue organizations in the US and you just need to keep trying until you find ones that have the ability to help.
Tanya, perhaps you’ve only had one person directly refuse to be put on the waiting list, but would you know if there were people in the community who had not contacted the shelter about surrendering their pets but had heard from others about the waiting list? I don’t see how you would know that, or how you would know what happened to their animals.
Oh good grief! Of course there is no way for any of us to know that! The FACT is WE ARE DOING THE BEST WE CAN to help the 100’s of animals in Rabun County GA where there are few rules and regulations about breeding, spay/neutering or abandoning animals…and few LE officers available to enforce the rules we do have. Rabun county is VERY rural…miles and miles of country roads, acres and acres of forests with a few towns/communities scattered throughout…and a lot of people who don’t take kindly to anyone snooping around their property. Dogs and cats run free and until recently few were spayed/neutered, chipped or tagged. I’m sorry…but unless you live here you have no idea what we are up against!
Your situation is not unique. And this is the second time this has been brought up: ” few rules and regulations about breeding, spay/neutering or abandoning animals.” I ask again, what laws do you need to help you do your job? GA state law forbids abandoning dogs. You need something more?
Right, of course you wouldn’t know that. That was exactly my point. If you know that you have no idea how many people are actually refusing to be put on the list, why bring up the “only one” you know of? It’s disingenuous and dodges the actual question that was posed. You have no idea what’s happening to all of those animals.
You and others who work at the shelter have made several statements here indicating that you think you’re facing some unique challenges that nobody else could possibly understand. You are not. Shelters everywhere in the US have to deal with all of the things you’ve mentioned, and it’s disheartening that none of you seem to know that. How much research did any of you do before embarking on this endeavor?
Ok, I think it’s obvious that there are challenges here that they didn’t realize they’d be facing when they took over the shelter. Learning curve, fair enough.
But the “we’re doing the best we can” attitude is going to kill you guys. Seriously. It’s a wall that blocks you from coming up with creative and different solutions. You have GOT to let that attitude go and start again with, “Ok, this is what’s happening, what can we do to move forward from here?” Assume that you’re going to be swamped with kittens or puppies or mill dogs or fighting bust dogs or flood victims or any other overwhelming thing ANY MINUTE NOW. Think about how bad things can get, then add another suitcase full of bad. Can you picture it?
This is where you need the full force of your human resources pointed in the same direction. Get creative. New ideas, new approaches, new means of reaching out to the community because YES the community is both the source of the problem AND the solution to the problem. And no, a waiting list is not going to do it, it just won’t. You have to be able to let go of “doing the best we can” in favor of “doing something innovative that brings us together to solve this”.
Now, if you can bring that attitude to the day to day running of the shelter when it’s NOT overwhelmed with emergency care, you’ve got forward momentum. And you have to KEEP that forward momentum with outreach, networking, and an all around ballsy belief that THIS CAN BE DONE despite any evidence to the contrary. Every elderly cat, every deaf dog, every hamster missing an eye can get into a home if you can mobilize your resources to do it.
No, it’s not easy. Easy is what the other shelters do when they use the catch and kill model. Killing is easy. That’s why they do it. You’re not them. Which is why you are going to gather your people together and start USING them to come up with solutions. You’d be amazed at the innovation that can happen when you let people brainstorm in a supportive environment. You have everything you need because you have people who are willing and committed to the cause. Encourage them! Use them! Try new things. Fail. Try again. Ask others who have succeeded. Try again. Try again. Find what works. And keep going. Always keep going.
Misleading the public by claiming to be an open admission no kill shelter does more than hurt Rabun Co and its pets, it hurts all the shelters out there who are truly open admission and no kill.
No one has to choose between killing animals or doing their jobs. It’s false to put that question out there – and violent as well.
No one on this blog is likely to volunteer at this facility since we all live in different states and countries. Offering the old “volunteer or shut up” response does not fly with me – never has.
I think it’s important to reiterate that I did reach out to the director personally a couple weeks ago. I waited a long time for a response in an effort to give him every opportunity to do so. He offered no response.
The reader who asked to remain anonymous said he spoke to a volunteer at Rabun just a few days ago, near the end of June. He says he was told they were not accepting owner surrenders. He was not offered any alternatives.
OPEN ADMISSION means we take any breed. Tell that reader to call after 1030 today and ask for me and I will put them on the waiting list.
I’m sorry Susan, you are incorrect. Open admission means you accept owner surrenders and strays – just like it says in the county contract. AFAIK, the reader needed help for a pet right away, not at some unknown future date, and that’s why he declined to be placed on the waiting list.
Shirley, is there any proof that Rabun Paws 4 Life is in violation of their contract? There has never been any study I’m aware of that has examined the issue of whether there is an increase in abandonment when people who want to surrender their animals are placed on a waiting list. Lynchburg did a study on the effect of their appointment system when it was first instituted, and the number of strays picked up actually went down. I think that the traditional “open admission” practice of allowing anyone to drop off an animal at the local pound at any time for any reason may actually encourage irresponsibility and impulse decisions and lead to higher rates of relinquishment. I think it’s a good thing for shelters to experiment and see whether they can better manage intakes by pet retention practices and by asking owners to help the shelter help their pet. In the particular case of Rabun Paws 4 Life (a new non-profit), a temporary waiting list is a better solution, in my opinion, than transitional killing.
I received no information on the waiting list except that it was “quite lengthy” and I did attempt to get that information directly from the director. Now that the post has appeared, the description of the waiting list appears to be changing. I have no information on the accuracy of any of these descriptions. I certainly would have placed a little more stock in them had they come about prior to the post, such as when I requested the info from the shelter.
As you know Susan, I am not an attorney so I can not say if there is proof of a contract violation. You might like to contact one of you require a definitive answer. I offered no such declaration in my post. In my layman’s opinion yes, that’s a possibility but as for the proof you request, I am not qualified to answer.
No one on this blog, especially not me, is advocating for killing animals as an alternative. This blog is for NO KILL, as you know Susan. Please don’t state or imply that I am endorsing the killing of shelter animals again. It is more than offensive – it is a form of violence.
No one is ‘misleading’ the public, the problem comes with interpretation of what ‘open admission’ means in regards to the contractual obligation…’open admission’ means the shelter will take in dogs/cats regardless of their breed, age,health, etc. It is kind of like a ‘no discrimination policy’ for employment…you know, the statement that no one is to be turned away because of race, age, etc. It doesn’t mean that we have to take every dog that someone calls about or brings by wanting to surrender…any more than the ‘no discrimination’ policy means an employer must hire everyone who applies for a job…think how ridiculous that would be. The shelter can only house a certain number of animals, just as an employer can only hire a certain number of people for a job or in a factory, restaurant, office, etc. There are reasons for this…and all of them have to do with what is best for the animals.
Perhaps some of you who live too far away to volunteer could help out in other ways…donations, sponsorship, marketing our pets by sharing the posts on your Facebook pages and blogs.
Not actually living here makes it impossible for you to fully understand the situation…we have an overwhelming number of strays in this area and very poor laws and/or enforcement of the ones we do have. Perhaps someone out there could help with writing some new, stricter animal control legislation for this area. In other areas of the country there are strict rules about licencing, breeding, vaccinating, spay/neuter, etc. and those areas do not have the problems we have here in the mountain counties.
Another thing people from outside our area/state might do to help out would be to inform us of No Kill shelters and/or rescue groups in your area that we might form a partnership with to help move some of the dogs/cats out of our shelter into other places that are not overcrowded.
There are many ways you can be part of the solution instead of creating a problem. And if you are in the area stop by and visit with the animals and staff…we would welcome you and be glad to give you a tour any time. We all love our animals and are doing everything in our power to save them.
There are very few third party resources (i.e. other than the shelters themselves) that actually provide definitions regarding animal sheltering. Off the top of my head, Asilomar is one. I know they define open admission.
*”Open Admission Shelter:* An agency that must accept, or chooses to accept, any and all companion animals regardless of health, temperament, or space available, with no limitation.”
After reading a few articles on ‘No Kill’ and ‘Open Admission’ I might now better see what the problem is…Rabun Paws 4 Life is trying to be both and by ‘definition’ this is close to impossible.
By definition ‘No Kill’ is a term that is used to describe an animal shelter that takes in unwanted pets, but does not euthanize them. They “can refuse to take animals when full, or if they do not think the animal is adoptable.”
Where as an ‘Open Admission’ shelter, by definition, may have “limited space but cannot turn away a pet if they are full. As such most open admission animal shelters have to euthanize animals. Some shelters euthanize animals on a daily basis, others weekly. They euthanize as many animals as they think they need to according to how many animals they think will be surrendered for a period of time.”
So now I hope you can better see the dilemma for our shelter…We are above all else a NO KILL shelter, while at the same time trying our best to take in, or in some way help every unwanted animal in a rural county with few rules and over-run with stray/ abandoned/feral and otherwise unwanted dogs and cats.
We don’t claim to be perfect, but we are doing our best! We could really use your help…it would be much more productive than your criticism.
Tanya, While you are reading, please take a look at this page on the No kill Advocacy Center which lists open admission shelters with extremely high save rates. It begins:
“Today, over 160 communities representing 400+ cities and towns across America, including those in Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Utah, California, New York, Texas and elsewhere, are saving *roughly* 90%* of all animals and as high as 99%.”
Is Rabun County’s goal to be both open admission and no kill, as stated on its website? Or has the goal changed? Before we can offer meaningful suggestions or assistance, we really need to know the goals.
Hi Shirley — Since the NKAC page you linked cites my blog as its source for the list, I feel I should point out that some of the shelters in communities listed on my blog have waiting lists, just like Rabun Paws 4 Life. In the introduction page to my blog I go into detail about why I think the whole “open admission” controversy is a red herring used against shelters that are saving a high percentage of their intake. Animal Ark is an example of a great shelter that serves its community very well and has a waiting list.
Here is what it says on that page, at the end:
“* This is a modified version of *Outthefrontdoor.com*. Some communities listed on that site are not included. In addition, some communities listed on this site are not included on theirs. Please also note that past performance is not a guarantee of future performance and a 90% save rate does not constitute No Kill. To understand the 90% Club, click here .”
I would encourage everyone who believes we are not fulfilling our mission to come to a Paws 4 Life Board Meeting or to a County Commissioner’s Meeting. Let your voice be heard. I would also encourage those who believe in our mission to attend these meetings as well. While people are arguing semantics, we are trying to save as many lives as possible. I am a sensitive person. I get offended when people make accusations or claims that we are in violation of contract. Maybe I should have thicker skin. I don’t mean that in the literal sense, as I am already fat enough. All I can honestly say is we are doing our best to save as many animals as possible. I have kept dogs and cats in my office when there was no room. I have networked with other no kill shelters to form partnerships for transports, and this appears to be paying off as we have made some room to take in strays and owner surrenders.
I am not here to attack your beliefs or opinions. I honestly do this job out of love for animals. Never in my life have I faced so many attacks for the work that I do (and I was in law enforcement for years!). You stated that “offering the old “volunteer or shut up” response does not fly with me – never has”. First off, no one is suggesting to anyone to shut up But how else could anyone know about the challenges we face at Paws 4 Life unless they spent time with us “in the trenches”?. Numbers do not tell the whole story. Statistics on our page do not give you any idea of how hard we are working here at Paws 4 Life to find homes for unwanted animals.
As for me and the rest of us here at Rabun Paws 4 Life, we will continue our hard work and dedication to saving animals. Never in my life would I have thought we would be under such constant criticism for the work we do. Sure, we make mistakes, but who doesn’t? But when it comes to these dogs and cats, we all are invested emotionally in ensuring that they find great forever homes. And we are still young, only existing for around 7 months. We are learning, and growing. I am so proud of the work the staff, the volunteers and the fosters do here. Keep your head up high Paws 4 Life! We are only just beginning to make a difference in the lives of the animals of Rabun County!! We have heart, we have passion, and we have dedication. The only thing we lack is space. Lets focus on spay and neuter to curb the pet population. Focus on educating the public about responsible pet ownership. And let’s focus on finding homes for these wonderful animals!
Gob bless you all!
Have you checked out successful no-kill shelters to see some of the things they do? I’m sure there are many directors, volunteers or staff who would be very happy to talk with you about some of the things they are successful with. There is also a lot of information about no-kill strategies that work, even in limited-space shelters.
Finally, I highly recommend you contact UPAWS in the upper peninsula of Michigan. They have done remarkable things.
Good luck to you and the animals you are finding homes for.
I second the recommendation to contact UPAWS.
Thank you for your suggestions. Do you know a contact person there I could call?
Here are some posts about UPAWS if you would like to read about how they became an open admission no kill shelter and how they have maintained it over the years:
I can see no matter what we post, no matter how hard we try, we cannot please everyone. People can say what they want from the safety of their computer keyboard. It’s easy nowadays with the internet. People can go on Facebook and create fake profiles with fake names and just bash away at everything they disagree with.
Well my name is Chris Simmons. I WORK at Rabun Paws 4 Life. Come see me. COME TO THE SHELTER and sit and talk with me (just call first). I get dirty everyday in my job, whether its cleaning or just hugging a scared stray that just came in and is covered in ticks and dirt. I spend my days working on adoptions, transports and foster homes. I don’t have time to sit and criticize everything I disagree with, especially if I am NOT willing to learn the other side before I criticize.
Look at all the energy we have all used up since yesterday on this post. Why? Because they sit behind their computers and judge us for what we do? People who have either never been to shelter or haven’t been here for months? It’s sad, actually, the ease with which people can slander and mislead the public in the internet age.
How much of this energy could have spent focusing on changing the mentality of communities in which there are not a no-kill shelter? Spend your time changing policies instead of criticizing an upstart no kill shelter that is truly trying.
Sadly, I am sure I will receive a response to this in which I am ridiculed or told how I could better do my job. Easy to say from a computer keyboard. Come get your hands dirty with us at Paws 4 Life. Share are triumphs, our tears, and our sweat and our love for animals. You just might be inspired to say something nice about us.
Though we have a large book of volunteers, there are a lot that have never come to the shelter or events. Today Rosa and I wash, groomed(one took Rosa over 3 hours stripping one dog) and nails cut on 3 dogs of a cancer patient. Did we have to do it, No we didn’t but we did it as these dogs were covered in fleas. Out of our own pockets we got Capstar, Frontline Plus and Tick collars. We do it for the animals and the joy knowing these dogs are comfortable now. I am even helping the lady out in a few weeks by taking all the dogs to get rabies shots. I also am helping a lady who broke her leg and cant walk her dogs. Go there almost every day to walk them. We need volunteers to walk dogs, cuddle them, make them feel special and same for the cats and kittens they need handling and played with. There are volunteers that man the desk and phones and for some of them that’s all they can do. Kids are out of school now so stop by for an hour or two and play with the dogs and cats. We welcome anyone to come to our shelter and see what good we are doing. We could use more volunteers. Please come and help.
This is for Sky Walker
Rabun Paws 4 Life Shelter
22 intakes in 2 days!! Everything from strays to bite dogs to owner surrenders. So much for saying we do not take in strays or owner surrenders. When we have room, we bring them in. The only problem with this is, we are full again. But more transports are scheduled, so please be patient while we deal with the overcrowding issue. Thanks so much!! Chris
Susan – You are skirting the edge here. You have twice commented using a false definition of “open admission” and now you appear to be pasting misleading statements someone else made on another website into a comment here. Please change the direction of your comments.
I was only posting the fact that when we have room we take in as many animals as possible. Don’t understand what’s wrong with that. As this whole thread is related to the fact that we aren’t accepting animals, I have search many sites and most state open admission is accepting all breeds. Now some state they take in all the time but these are large shelter, we are trying our hardest to do that but when the shelter is the shelter full.
It seems evident to me that you do not understand the difference between a limited admission shelter and an open admission shelter. That’s not your fault – at least it wasn’t until you were provided with the correct definitions. Perhaps the staff at Rabun Co are similarly confused about these definitions. I don’t know.
But I think it’s important to state clearly what your group’s mission is. If it’s to be an open admission no kill shelter, as currently claimed on your website, you are not fulfilling that mission, and haven’t been for at least a couple of months. And to my mind, the claim is harmful and disrespectful to all the no kill shelters out there who continually work their tails off to save pets because they truly are open admission and turn no pets away for any reason.
Go look at the status for May and June and you will see we are taking in animals, just sometimes they have to be put on waiting list. I don’t see how we are being disrespectful to other shelters. I would like to know where state you like in and why did you start this tread? What do you do to help the animals where you live? Or are you like Alison Hector and Sky Walker that sit behind computers and bash shelters that are trying to save as many animals as possible. At least I am at the shelter almost every day helping. Are You?
Susan, You are a guest here. Please don’t piss on the floor.
I say we all just stop now. This isn’t getting us anywhere. They believe what they believe, and we believe what we believe, and I can see that this discussion is not getting us anywhere. I would like to thank those of you who gave us good advice, like mikken and Clara. That is not to say that you agree with everything we are doing, but we have already put some of your advice into practice. We eliminated a lot of the “Free to a Good Home” or “Missing” from the shelter’s Facebook page and created a new community page for these posts. Our Facebook shelter page should have been highlighting the adoptable pets in our shelter, and we were not doing that. Clara, I will take a very positive approach when talking to other rescues, shelters, etc about transports. I am glad we have freedom of speech in this country. I just hate when it isn’t used in a positive manner.
As I said, earlier Susan, Chris, Justin and everyone at Rabun Shelter has made major strides for the benefit of the animals. How do I know? I know because it has now changed for the better since the killing fields it once was last year. Where were all you people that has spoke on this thread when Bogg’s Mountain Shelter nightmare was exposed? This has been an uphill battle for these people to begin anew with the terrible legacy that the previous director and board members has made for them to overcome. Yes, there is learning involved for who all made the decision to get in the trenches and help the animals, but learning does not occur by bashing. Lend a hand by offering constructive criticism and real ideas on how to do the job better. Wow, I did not see this much outspokenness on this blog when that particular shelter was at it’s worse. Care for animals should be align with helping those humans who are trying help them, not in tearing them down. The contract issue, I suggest Rabun residents like SkyWalker should contact your local commissioner. But, if I remember correctly you were bodily removed from one of their meetings and told not to come back. Ms. Biscuit I suggest you really look at the person that gives you your ‘tips’ not all are credible as you may be finding out.
Great job Rabun Paws, I am sure that things will get better with all of your dedication and hard work on the behalf of Rabun animals.
Where were we all when Boggs Mtn was exposed? Right here. The blog has a search function. Use it if you so desire.
“Ms. Biscuit I suggest you really look at the person that gives you your ‘tips’ not all are credible as you may be finding out.” Sod off.
I have to admit that I have been teary-eyed today, and blessed beyond measure from all the support we have received. Whether it was in this blog, or the e-mails I have received, or the Facebook posts, thanks to everyone who has stood by us. We have an amazing community of animal lovers, and I so happy to hear you raise your voices in support of our shelter. On a positive note, this discussion has lead to a new transport partnership, so we are very excited!
For those who may disagree with our methods but who gave sound advice, thank you. I took a long hard look at our marketing strategies, and Justin and I are revamping our approach. Constructive criticism is always welcome here at Paws 4 Life. And to Yes Biscuit: We disagree on things, but I know you are a respected member of the animal welfare community. Sorry I didn’t respond to you when you sent an e-mail. I honestly never saw it. But in the future, please call me or come by and maybe we can sit and discuss our differences. Justin can come, too. This internet/e-mail thing is just way too impersonal for such a complex issue. We are passionate just like you when it comes to the animals. I never tried to mislead anyone, it’s not my style. I wish you continued success in exposing the ugly side of shelters and animal welfare.
And I did find your e-mail. Again, sorry I didn’t respond.
Chris, Susan & Justin, I just read through this thread and you all know who I am. I am proud of all of you and you have come so far in such a short amount of time. I know what your up against in Rabun County. People can throw the GA State laws at you all day long but are Animal Cruelty Laws haven’t ever been enforced in the State of GA like they should. Saying it’s against the law to abandon a animal in Rabun County is a joke if these people who are writing would understand there are hundreds of miles of forestry land and dirt roads in the mountains and police cannot be everywhere. You have taken in a huge task and poured your heart and soul into it just like all the other employees and volunteers that can be there on a daily basis. To have to argue and defend the definition of Open Admission and No Kill is ridiculous in my opinion. Rabun County doesn’t have to answer to any of these groups that believe they have the true definition of those statements. You are not following any bi-laws to be a member of any other organization other than Rabun Paws 4 Life and your rules and the County are the only ones you have to listen to. Now on the other hand you have been given some great suggestions you can run with and positive help is always a good thing. I would simply ignore the rest, they will wear you out which is their intentions and that won’t help the animals in Rabun on bit. Take care and keep your great energy focused! Love you all.
Thank you for what you do for the neglected horses. You are an amazing lady!!
“To have to argue and defend the definition of Open Admission and No Kill is ridiculous in my opinion. Rabun County doesn’t have to answer to any of these groups that believe they have the true definition of those statements.”
That’s like saying Boggs Mountain had every right to make up its own definition of No Kill.
Mat everyone have a great 4th of July. Rain or not.
I was disappointed to see our shelter director make such a brouhaha on our shelter page over me agreeing with and ‘sharing’ this article on my personal facebook page. Our shelter page should be used for animals in the shelter needing homes and not for announcing what I shared today on my personal fb page. Glad suggestions were made about SLATHERING the page with animals in the shelter!
Awhile back my husband called the shelter and spoke with what sounded like a woman to obtain our animal control officer’s cell number.
He then called our AC officer who stated we would have to catch the stray animal and keep it in our home until space opened in the shelter.
Immediately after speaking with the AC officer, my husband called the shelter again and spoke with, what sounded like to him, an elderly woman. She stated they were at 200% capacity with an indefinite period of waiting time. He described the animal to her and left his name and phone number in case someone called in for ‘lost and found’. I’m disappointed to learn now that the shelter does not even have a record of the animal here needing their help desperately.
Animal control and owner surrenders must work as the county contract states. We have an animal control officer who can’t do his job for lack of space. It looks like the county contract requires the shelter be open admission and the staff needs to make that happen. IMO, there is nothing wrong with asking the public to wait, educating them and offering alternative thoughts and solutions but at the end of the conversation if they want to leave the animal, the discussion is over and the animal is accepted.
Try as I might to understand the numerous excuses given here, I simply cannot. I read claims that their challenges have something to do with the history of our shelter, our terrain, our laws, our population, etc., etc.. All these things were well known in advance and have not changed since last Fall when they stated their open admission no kill mission. Although they disagree mightily with the industry definition of open admission, it’s still the definition. I’d love to redefine some things in the industry I choose to work that would be more to my liking but that’s absurd on its face. Open admission means no health, temperament, or space available limitations.
Contrary to what I’ve read, I do not wish any animal killed. Not only cats and dogs, I’m vegan for crying out loud. It’s heartbreaking seeing animals suffering and dying without any help. I know our county commissioners and the public were misled because I was at the commissioners meeting when the presentation was given. Right now it is operated as ‘Limited Admission’. It seems to me, claiming to be something you’re obviously not, is false advertising.
Limited Admission Shelter: An agency that may accept companion animals on a voluntary and/or space available basis.
Again, thank you all for shining much needed light and offering constructive, creative solutions to help the animals in our area. Hopefully the staff has gained an understanding of open admission and will make it work because way too many animals in our area are still in dire need. Our weather is atrocious and they are out there without shelter.
Crikee, I have never been removed from a county commissioners meeting and told not to return. Haven’t even spoken at one — YET. You don’t have an understanding nor an argument so you have simply resorted to making up lies. smh
Again here comes Sky Walker who points out all of the problems and offers no solutions, no advice and no help. You, I Justin and your husband know the truth about his infamous call to the shelter. You know he called us with an agenda, to try and discredit us, and when Justin offered him assistance he hung up on him. This is not the first time you have tried to discredit us, and you have made our shelter one of your many targets online. You assume other names on Facebook and attack those things you disagree with. You try to make it seem like more people share your opinion by creating fake profiles. Your efforts at destroying others is shameful. You type away and point out what we are doing wrong, while we hold and treat sick animals, and clean and disinfect the shelter to give these pets a proper kennel. We show love. You spread anger and disharmony. All because we say we are “Open Admission” and have a waiting list? No mention of the strays we have helped and found homes for or reunited with their owners? No mention of the strays that were brought in with broken limbs, bite wounds, infections or fear because they were abused? Again, it’s hard to see the good side of an organization when you don’t take the time to see what it is that they do, exactly. You rely on stats and Facebook postings in order to justify your own predisposed opinions of others.
I do not know what happened with you in the past, but it is clear to me you have an axe to grind with Rabun Paws 4 Life. You have never met me, nor have you ever come to the shelter since I have been there. There are others who have offered us sound, quality advice which we have taken to heart. You offer nothing but criticism. Mikken and nkbn believe we have flaws in our marketing and our approach to the public and to the shelter/rescue community. I respect their opinion, and their advice, because it comes from experience. We have started making changes to both of those areas. But what do you offer? You are too busy trying to destroy what others are trying to build. You point fingers when they aren’t busy typing blame.
So, go ahead Sky. Continue to bash away at us. But there is a community of animal lovers here who will not allow us to fail and who will stand up for us. The sad reality is, we only have so much space. Nothing changes this except getting dogs into good homes. That is MY mission. I work on it everyday. Do you know how awful, how heartbroken, myself and the staff and volunteers feel to have to put dogs and cats on a waiting list? To pour salt into those wounds, and make it sound like we are callous, is cruel. I make no excuses for why there are so many dogs and cats out there. I just know there are too many for us to help all of them, and this makes me sad. You know, I have a rule. For any animal in our shelter that has to be humanely euthanized due to suffering, one of our staff must be beside that animal while he or she crosses the Rainbow Bridge. I took Hoss, a terminally ill boxer, to my home for his last few days so he wouldn’t die alone in the shelter. And when his condition worsens, and he was having syncope, I was beside him and held him and cried beside him for his last few moments. He is buried in my yard, and I will remember him always. That is the pets I foster, the hospice pets. Justin took Dorothy, who had similar symptoms, on a last car ride with the windows down. She loved it. Her last days and moments were filled with love. She didn’t see the tears we shed for these dogs. Our shelter is full of love. I am proud of everything we do, and sad for the things we can’t do. But we try everyday. No one likes or wants to turn away any pet.
What would you have us do, besides take the good advice we have received her and get better with marketing and transports (which we have started to do and have seen positive results today)? Stack them all in crates, cram the building full, and pray we don’t have a parvo outbreak? Because if we start stacking crates, and have an outbreak, some of the these animals will face suffering and possible death. If you have no room to quarantine incoming strays, then you subject many of them to whatever infectious process other strays may bring with them. Do you want us to take in every stray and owner surrender, pack the building full, and pray the Department of Agriculture doesn’t shut us down due to overcrowding? A complex issue to be sure. Not as cut and dry as you may think.
I respect many of the people who have commented on here. But I have lost it for you. You sent me a Facebook request to add you as a friend, I accept it, and you tell me the following:
Contrary to what you may believe – I am NOT your enemy! I told Doris Buckely to tell you I’m A Fan. I hope she did that.
Well, now I know the truth, and I did heed the warnings of others. I thought we could find some common ground and be friends and work to find solutions to the problems of pet overpopulation. But I was wrong! I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, but of course you were using pseudonyms on Facebook to attack my statements. Lesson learned. You got me! But now that the ruse is over, I have gained insight into the lengths you will go to sidetrack our goal of saving pets.
I felt alone when I saw this blog. I felt hurt. I couldn’t understand why people would take the time to attack our “Open Admission” mission statement when there are police shooting dogs for no reasons, communities without a no kill shelter and shelter directors who seem to have no compassion. I understand that people wished we could house every stray, but most understand there is just not enough room. I still don’t understand why. We are a small shelter that is just starting out and we admit we don’t have all the answers. But we are open to new ideas. But while you focus on the fact that we are not truly “open admission”, I will focus on the part of the mission of “no kill”. I no longer feel alone, and I know longer feel hurt. That went away this morning when Donovan, one of our shelter dogs who is skittish, laid his head in my lap for the first time. I sat beside him for the longest time, and slowly he worked his way toward me, sniffed me a bit, and then allowed me to pet him. Those are the moments I live for, besides seeing them leave for their forever homes. Coupled with all of the support from the community, it reminded me of why I do this. And I can always do more. And I will. And I care. And I can learn. And I can love.
Yes, I know the truth about calling the shelter to obtain the AC guys phone number, making the AC call, and calling the shelter back to leave a description of the animal, our name, address, and telephone number in case someone reported it missing. You calling me a liar about that shows your true colors and reflects poorly on our shelter. That’s how Paws 4 Life treats taxpayers. WOW.
Readers here are Not Stupid and can see right through your pathetic efforts to intimidate. Your personal attacks on me are too lame for words. You wonder aloud what is in my past that would cause me concern over our shelter doors being closed for intakes and our strays not getting the help our taxpayers bought. How crude you are. YesBiscuit’s article is not about me but apparently you cannot figure that out. YesBiscuit clearly cited research including an email to you and a FOIA backing up this article.
I spoke with you, as did others, about lack of AC, overcrowding, and lack of intake owing on Randy Travis’ page. For you to claim those folks are me is laughable. Many of them are well known in No Kill Open Admission discussion groups as well as other animal and shelter related sites. This is a topic being discussed all across the internet. Many eyes are on our shelter whether you like it or not. After the Boggs fiasco, that’s just as it should be. Transparent.
When you replaced our other shelter director, for the first time I had hope! I messaged Doris telling her I thought you were putting forward a good face when you first started and hoped things worked out. Now you are posting my private message (how tacky) saying I’m a fan. After seeing the unprofessional show you’re creating on this site and our shelter page, that hope is gone.
To falsely claim I’m trying to sidetrack your goal of saving pets is as absurd as the other crap you are spewing. You are attempting to blame me but we both know I’m not to blame for the overcrowding at our shelter or for you turning away animals in need. I’m not to blame because our AC isn’t working as intended and the taxpayers are affording. This situation is not a recent phenomenon. Your job is to make our shelter’s stated mission work. Nobody said it would be easy.
No Kill Open Admission is a discussion happening all across the internet. Our shelter has just as much space now as it did when P4L took over in the Fall after presenting its declared mission to our commissioners. An accepted contract followed with an agreement to receive about $170,000 per year from taxpayers for stated services. That was the business deal although recently they requested a raise.
Again, contrary to your false claims, I would like to see our shelter succeed in its declared mission – Open Admission No Kill. Nobody said it would be easy. If you cannot do that and get our AC needed space while taking in owner surrenders, then change to ‘Limited Admission’ providing the County agrees.
Sky Walker. You really should inform the Board of Commissioners of your concerns. Ask them to add on to the building, tell them your concerns about me, tell them whatever you like. Ill give them a tour if they want. Ill give them my opinion. But one thing is certain, and that is this conversation is getting us nowhere. Have a good 4th of July.
How dissapointing. Not the shelter itself, but the ill words to them. People attack the kill shelters when the have to euthanize for space, but then attack the no-kill shelters when they have no room to take anything in. How do you think this whole thing works? There is not unlimited space!!. You want them to be a no-kill shelter, but you want them to be able to take EVERYTHING in that comes in the doors? How does that work? Would you rather it be like the old place, Boggs Mountain, and take you animal in, only to lie to you, then kill it?
Those of you that are forced to, or have chose to turn your animal into a shelter, should KNOW how difficult it can be to find homes for them. If it was that easy, you would have done it already, right?
It’s not the shelters fault, nor the fault of one single person. It is the fault of us ALL. As a country, that are allowing animals to breed, dumping them out on the streets, allowing them to roam, not following rabies vaccination laws, not vaccinating animals, you name it!
Yes, open admission is sort of a confusing phrase. I also thought at first that mean the same as open intake (like the animal control facilities). Depending on who you talk to, it can mean different things. BUt I don’t think that’s the issue here. It seems like everyone wants the magic wand of “they all find homes” to wave over Rabun County, and POOF!
I don’t understand what the issue is, why can this simple math now be figured out? If there are 20 cages, and 20 cages are full, +1 would mean someone would have to go before the new one has a place to go.
Wouldn’t it be a warm fuzzy, wonderful place, should every shelter just be able to have unlimited space, funding, volunteers, and whatever they need at their finger tips! Perhaps people should not wait until the day they have to move, to surrender their animal. It started out as the owners problem, but now, all of sudden, it’s the shelters problem (and somehow their fault too!)
Each and every one of you that are complaining about the Rabun shelter are either directly or indirectly responsible for the problems they have. Quit quarterbacking from afar and help—Volunteer to help,,,volunteer to help at the shelter,,,, donate your talents to solve the problem,,,adopt,,,adopt another if you already have,,,,,donate time,,,donate-money if you don’t want to get your hands dirty….bring dog and cat food for the animals…do SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE to solve your problems…A no kill shelter can’t take everything out there and remain no-kill. That’s the bottom line,period. The cry to spay and neuter is not heeded by too many people and even that takes time and can’t solve your current dilemma. There is an avalanche of animals that have to be attended to and unless you,ALL OF YOU, kick in you will ultimately end up with one of two things. You’ll be up to your armpits in strays, or a kill shelter that solves the problem.
Thank you Madi, Phillip Ballard, Jane Wake for your support of Paws. There are so many making comments on here that do nothing to help the animals in this country except sit on their computer and attack shelters(they know who they are) that are trying their best to place animals. The building is only so big and unless someone wants to build another building, the only other thing the shelter can do to satisfy the people on here to take every animal that comes to the shelter is put them in crates. Now do you really want to leave a large dog in a crate every day, all day, NO. Funny thing about this blog is only one person is upset that they cant get a stray in the shelter. They should contact the commissioners and get more money for another building or an off site area that we can house the animals till they can get into shelter. Most of the people on the waiting list understand our problem and are willing to wait. And in some cases Paws does not put the animal on a waiting list but they take them in. A few weeks ago a lady from the local Y camp brought in 10 kittens that were dumped there. Did Paws turn them away? No. If someone brought in a injured animal they found on a road, would they turn it away? NO. There are exceptions to the waiting list. It is done on a case by case issue. Foster, adopt, volunteer, donate.
“There are so many making comments on here that do nothing to help the animals in this country except sit on their computer and attack shelters(they know who they are”
You are now banned. Peddle your ignorance elsewhere. I know at least one place that would love to have you.
What do people not understand about being full to 200%? I run a rescue. I am full. I don’t know when someone is going to adopt one of our dogs, therefore I can’t promise a spot for a certain date. How many people on here that are complaining are offering to foster for rescues so the shelters burdens are eased?? Be part of the solution, not compound the problem by bashing the people that are trying to make this a No Kill Shelter. Many of you are probably the same people that get outraged when a dog is euthanized to make space for other dogs in other shelters.
First of all, bless you for rescuing. It’s important work you do.
However, let’s use the proper terminology ~ when you take an animal’s life for space you are killing that animal not euthanizing him/her. That is never acceptable.
There are many no-kill true shelters that are handling all of the things that other places face and do it without killing for space (or other reasons that take animals’ lives for any reason other than extreme behavior issues or suffering that cannot be alleviated by any other way).
As long as we say it’s okay to kill for space for whatever reason, we continue to perpetuate the wanton killing that goes on in so many facilities. There are other choices. Are they easy? Do you have to be creative? Do you have to make friends with the community? Yes! But it is being done and can be done. The biggest difference between true no-kill and kill facilities is the decision to stop the killing.
I have been in rescue 23 years,and I do know the proper terminology, but on some threads you get deleted if you say kill and you are presenting a contrary opinion to those expressed by the owner. First time I have every seen this one and wanted to make a point and not get kicked off. I appreciate the owner leaving my post.
Also, some so called no-kill shelters do not kill the animals, they just transfer them to another shelter that does.
I never said I approved of killing animals. I certainly wouldn’t be doing what I do if I did.
Shelters have capacity numbers, and the DOA is there to answer to and since what happened before, this shelter is certainly going to be scrutinized very carefully. The new people are trying, others need to help and give them time and a chance to succeed. Evidently many who are criticizing the new management were not very involved with the old management, or there would not have been a need for new management. JMHO
I find this a interesting thread. But it seems like some people on hung up on terminology. Can anyone give me the correct terms for: take any breed and doesn’t kill or kill for space: takes any breed, doesn’t kill or kill for space but has waiting list? Thanks
The only terminology I’m concerned about is interchanging “euthanasize” and “kill”. They are not the same thing and should not be confused. I’m going to let others worry about the semantics of “no kill”.
euthanize ~ sorry about posting before spell checking
Seems like if you ask questions on here about the lady of Yes Biscuit, you then get banned from the blog. At least Susan Blackwell is actually doing something at the shelter of Paws 4 Life unlike some people on here. Go Susan and all the volunteers at the shelter. You rock.
False. And a cheap shot.
First impressions are so important.
If the shoe fits. Wear it.
If you have nothing meaningful to contribute top the discussion, you will be banned for trolling. Strike 2.
Marie, you say that people are “hung up on terminology”. Yes, they are because words MATTER.
Calling a shelter “open admission” when it’s not open admission is a problem. Blaming the fact that you’re “no kill” as a reason to turn people away (and their pets to who knows what fate) is a problem.
I will say that P4L is doing a MUCH better job of advertising available animals on their facebook page. Getting animals networked makes a huge difference. There is still room for improvement there (posting strays from the field to try to help reunite owned lost pets with their people, more featured pets, more fostered pet info, etc.), but you no longer have to page down SIX times before you come across an animal available for adoption. I also applaud the name your own price adoption special – excellent!
Slamming YesBiscuit for calling P4L out on problems that actually exist, on facts, for heaven’s sake, is unhelpful. Not only unhelpful to the discussion, but unhelpful to P4L and the community they serve. It’s like…if your best friend puts on a hideous dress and then asks you your opinion, and you don’t want to hurt her feelings, so you tell her it’s beautiful. She wears that dress out and embarrasses herself. In the end, she’s not only hurt because she wore a dress that made her look like a circus tent on crack, but she’s hurt because she can’t trust you to tell her the truth.
In rescue, we have to be honest with each other. We HAVE to. Even if it hurts. Because too often we’re too close to a situation to be able to see the whole truth. This is especially true for passionate, caring people who have sacrificed time, tears, and resources for their cause.
But without criticism (and a willingness to HEAR it), we end up with the extreme – shelters that are abusive, neglectful, and cruel (and volunteer groups that support them, enable them, and keep quiet out of fear).
So now P4L has the criticism. What they do with it will tell you who they are. If they examine it and say, “Yes, these are areas in which we can improve and serve our community better”, then these are good people willing to embrace opportunities and possibilities. If they say, “It’s not our fault that the public is so irresponsible. We’re doing the best we can! If you care so damn much, shut up and foster/donate/help!”, then you know that these are not people interested in change. These are not people interested in innovation to save lives. These are not people who are willing to move forward and forge new shelter models for the future.
I’ve already seen improvements, so I am hopeful for the future of P4L. Leadership that encourages innovation will be their most valuable commodity from here on out.
I wanted to say thank you for giving constructive criticism. There are people on here who want to attack, bully or slander other people, but you gave us sound advice which we have already started to implement. No matter what issues I have with the way this blog was presented, as well as the agendas of some of the commenters, I understand that we can make improvements in the way the shelter operates.
I will say that a lot of positive things did come out of this blog, and for that I am grateful. We have started discussions with several shelters and rescues who offered help to us, so hopefully we can start transports to them as soon as we approve them. As you noticed, we have started making changes to the way we market our pets, and we have started a creative marketing team which includes talented members of the public to assist us in thinking of new ways to reach the community. We have work ahead of us, but we are willing to listen and to challenge ourselves and improve. We have reached out to the No Kill Advocacy Center for fresh ideas.
So thank you to those who tried to help instead of just criticize. I have a lot to learn, and I admit that. All of us do. But we are a caring and dedicated group here at Paws 4 Life. We are a relatively new organization, but we all came here to help the animals after the previous shelter failed to people of this community, and sadly, the animals of Rabun County and beyond. I offer no excuses as to why we can’t help every stray and owner surrender, but our ultimate goal is to be able to do just that. The right way. And we aren’t afraid to admit we need help, and to ask for it.
Chris, I am so pleased to hear that you’ve reached out to the NKAC. Using their experience, pooling the resources of the passionate locals and being open to new ways of doing things is the path to success. As you say, it’s hard work, but what you’re creating now will be the foundation for the future, so it’s worth doing it right!
Don’t forget to make your emergency plans – what are the steps you take when that big mill bust/natural disaster/fighting ring bust/hoarding situation happens? How will you rally the troops? Which local businesses can you reach out to for supplies? What are your procedures? Where and how do you evacuate animals when you need to? Get those into place before you need them because trying to put that together during an emergency is a nightmare.
And keep innovating. Never, ever say that you’re doing the best you can. Always wonder what you can be doing DIFFERENTLY to do better. Keep encouraging your people to come up with ideas. Silly ideas. Ridiculous ideas. Radical ideas. A successful shelter isn’t just hearts and hands, it’s minds, too. Minds open to the possibilities. Support each other.
And remember, criticism isn’t a bad thing (unless you ignore it). It’s a tool. Use it to help build your better future for Rabun. I have every hope for all of you.
Thank you so much! Justin and I both appreciate your wisdom, and we are focusing on the future. Kudos!