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.