Augusta, GA -
They can be adopted, but right now, dogs at the Augusta Animal Services shelter are not going to be put down.
“We have been ordered to not euthanize any animals until further notice, unless they are sick or injured,” said Kennel Operations Manager Priscilla Crisler.
The euthanizing of these animals is off, as the city prepares the paperwork for Augusta Commission approval. That would allowstate-licensed rescue groups to take unaltered pets out of the shelter, which is a practice currently not allowed.
“I would not have a problem with that because they will take all responsibility, liabilities to make sure the dogs are spayed and neutered. They'll have to worry about their license at that point,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.
“This is fabulous, this is wonderful. This is a step in a very, very positive direction, we're very excited,” said Aimee Murphy, an animal advocate who works with animal welfare groups and serves on the Augusta Animal Services Advisory Board.
Rescue groups could face fees to take the unaltered pets depending on when they arrived at the shelter.
“Full fee for the first week. After the second week, there will be a discounted fee. After 90 days, there will be no charge,” said Crisler.
If the Commission approves the contracting, rescue groups acknowledge taking pets.
“We need help, we need help from Augusta. All those animal lovers out there, step forward, help us out either with temporary housing, supplies, money,” said Murphy.
"Are the rescue groups going to come, are they going to reduce the number being put down here?” we asked Crisler. “We certainly hope so. I think it will help the amount, it will help...remains to be seen,” she answered.
“The rescue groups are going to have to come out of the woodwork to make this happen,” said Guilfoyle. "Think they will?" we asked. “I hope they do,” said the 8th District Commissioner.
“They're killing about 500 a month out there, now. Will this reduce the number?" we asked Murphy. “Absolutely, and that's why we are so for it,” said Murphy.
The contracts with rescuers are not on Tuesday's Commission agenda, but are expected to be ready in time. This means city leaders are going to need unanimous approval to add the item to the agenda. Without that, the animal groups will have to wait.