Empowering a Georgia shelter to help keep pets where they belong — with their families

Best Friends awards $50,000 grant to Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement in the Atlanta, Georgia, area to support a pet retention program.
By Nichole Dandrea

The past year has been a difficult one for the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement shelter. More people are moving to the county, which is located within the Atlanta metropolitan area, according to Alan Davis, shelter manager. With more people comes more pets, and that’s caused shelter intake to skyrocket.

To help keep pets with their families and out of the county shelter, Best Friends Animal Society recently awarded a grant of $50,000 to Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement to start a community outreach program. This grant will enable the shelter to offer resources to community members to support pet care and retention. The goal is to keep pets healthy in the care of families, preserve the bond between people and pets and prevent the animals from entering the shelter system.

“Gwinnett County Animal Welfare is thrilled about receiving the grant funding from Best Friends Animal Society,” says Alan, who will use the funding to help people hold on to their pets in three of the highest animal intake cities in Gwinnett County: Norcross, Lawrenceville and Snellville.

People holding a giant $50,000 check from Best Friends to Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement in the Atlanta, Georgia

Helping shelters in Georgia

One of the best ways to help shelters across the country reach no-kill is to provide solutions that keep pets out of the shelter in the first place. Approximately 2,000 homeless pets are killed in U.S. shelters daily, and in some states (including Georgia), the need for outreach initiatives like the one in Gwinnett County are especially critical.

Current shelter data from across the country reveals that Georgia is one of the top five states for the killing of shelter animals, with approximately 42,000 cats and dogs dying every year.

Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement, which has reached no-kill, is committed to helping all of Georgia do the same. And along with Best Friends, it leads the Georgia Animal Shelter Alliance, a coalition of animal welfare organizations working together to save more pets in Georgia.

“Gwinnett County consistently has the highest save rate in the state and has been working through the state coalition to share its success with other shelters looking to save more animals,” says Carrie Ducote, Best Friends senior manager for Georgia. “This grant will allow Gwinnett County to implement another best practice for animal shelters, which will save even more animals.”

This new initiative will also allow the shelter to build relationships with Gwinnett County residents and pets who have gone without mainstream shelter outreach and veterinarian care. It’s all about honoring and preserving the bond between people and their pets by providing everything needed to keep pets out of shelters — from free supplies to veterinary care.

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Woman being interviewed on camera in front of the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement building

Best Friends in Atlanta works collaboratively with area shelters, animal welfare organizations and individuals to save the lives of pets in shelters in the region. The Best Friends Lifesaving Center is a hub for animals and a base for local programming and coalition-building to help the metro-Atlanta area in its final push to achieve no-kill, while strengthening the movement in the Southeast. Together, we will Save Them All.

Photos courtesy of Gwinnett County Animal Welfare