Monday, October 31, 2011

Georgia Shelters that network shelter pets on Facebook

Counties in (GA) currently posting their animals on facebook:

Hall County AC (Gainesville, GA)
Barrow County AC (Winder,GA)
Bulloch County Animal Shelter (Statesboro, GA)
LibertyCounty AC (Hinesville, GA)
Douglas County AC (Douglasville, GA)
Barnesville AC (Barnsville, GA)
Cherokee County AC (Canton, GA)
Floyd County AC (Rome, GA)
Hall County Animal Shelter Animals & Volunteers (Gainesville, GA)
Henry County AC (McDonough, GA)
Heard County AC (Franklin, GA)
Hazlehurst Animal Shelter (Hazlehurst, GA)
Paulding County Animal Shelter Pets (Dallas, GA)
Jeff DavisCountyAnimal Shelter (Hazlehurst, GA)
Athens-Clarke County AC (Athens, GA)
Cobb County AC (Marietta, GA)
Carroll County Animal Shelter (Carrollton, GA)
Catoosa County Animal Shelter (Ringgold, GA)
Gilmer County AC (Ellijay, GA)
Chattooga County AC (Summerville, GA)
Habersham County AC (Clarkesville, GA)
Butts County AC (Jackson, GA)
Barnesville Pound Pups (Barnesville, GA)
Spalding County AC (Griffin, GA)
Meriwether Animal Shelter (Greenville, GA)
Murray CountyAC (Chatsworth, GA)
Clayton County Police Dept. AC Unit (Jonesboro, GA)
Dekalb County Animal Services (Decatur, GA)
Savannah-Chatham County AC (Savannah, GA)
Ware County/Okefenokee Humane Society (Waycross, GA)

County NOT posting their animals on Facebook - GWINNETT.

Laberge and Respess have used the excuse that Gwinnett County does not allow departments to use Facebook even if that use would save the taxpayers the expense of keeping pets longer than needed, killing them or preventing pet owners from finding their lost pets on Facebook. However, Gwinnett's Sheriff Department has two face book pages - one for the Detention center and the other for the Jail Dog program.

The REAL reason we don't at least try to post our soon to be killed URGENT pets on Facebook is two things - the Gwinnett Police Department's inept management of the shelter (see privatize) and the lazy, inept shelter management that refuses to provide reliable information to the PUBLIC volunteers who have offered to network this life saving information.
County's that care enough about not killing their shelter pets - see above list
County that doesn't care - Gwinnett
Please call or email your commissioner and ask why don't WE care about networking our URGENT pets?

Gwinnett's Dysfunctional Animal Advisory Council's Meeting Minutes

For those who wonder what wonderful work on dysfunctional animal advisory council offers our county commissioners - here's the minutes to October's Animal Advisory Councils meeting.

Keep in mind with all the issues we have with Gwinnett's current shelter policies this same advisory council chaired by AKC legislative liason Gail Laberge cancelled July's meeting for a lack of anything meaningful to discuss. With a shelter still killing 80% of it's cats one would think adopting out afew more at the local Petco is hardly going to make any difference for the hundreds of cats who will be killed because both the animal advisory council and shelter director Lt Respess have stone walled repeated request for the shelter to support a local volunteer Facebook page that could have helped promote these cats and the dogs being killed at the shelter if only Respess and Laberge greeted meaningful suggestions with anything but excuses and the word NO.

With all the hundreds of cats being slaughtered every week the current advisory cound has no one from feline rescue on the advisory council since the previous advisory resiigned last December. As we have repeatedly discussed for three years now the current advisory council is not only dysfunctional but in fact negligent in tending the basic issues the board has been tasked with in favor of promoting the special interests of gail Laberge in her role as AKC legislative representative.

Pet owners deserve a real voice for pets moving Gwinnett forward in solving our pet overpopulation issues including those voices who understand one of the critical issues that MUST be addressed in breeder licensing which would differiente between responsible breeders who are allies in our war on pet overpopulation with irresponsible breeders who are clearly part of the problem.

Animal Task Forced to take up shelter's cultural shift

"I think there is a culture shift in the way the shelter is perceived, and it is a good thing," said Gail LaBerge, chairperson for Gwinnett's Animal Advisory Council, which studies animal-related issues.

Yes, Gail there is a cultural shift the way the shelter is perceived and that cultural shift began when our group  "We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett" proactively worked first on repealing her Animal Advisory Council's draconian dog barking ordinance that was being misused to intimidate even responsible pet owners out of their pets. 

Our cultural shift continued when We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett lobbied for and pressured Gwinnett's Animal Shelter is stopping it's abusive long standing policy of rounding up and killing feral cats despite the fact there was never a law passed that prohibited stray cats and with full knowledge that these cats would be wholesale slaughter at our shelter.

It was under Lt. Respess's leadership that over 4,800 stray cats were killed in 2009 alone - and over 11,000 cats have been killed since Respess took over as shelter director. Yet, Laberge's control of the animal advisory council for years ignored advocates pleas that Gwinnett incorporate a life saving Trap/Neuter/Release program in partnership with the feral cat rescue community.

To be clear, Gwinnett's Animal Advisory Council chair Laberge is not supportive of Gwinnett's newly established Animal Task Force that will study many of the animal welfare issues that the dysfunctional animal advisory council has ignored for years, including shelter policy operations and the future makeup of an animal advisory council that includes pet owner voices instead of a Laberge lead advisory council that was only interested in protecting the special interest of life long appointee's to that council.

We believe that Laberge shares responsibility for long ignoring the cultural problems created by poor leadership in Gwinnett's shelter operations and in the dysfunctional advise from our failed animal advisory council as well.  We must continue to push for cultural change that prohibits animal control from immediately killing owner surrenders merely because they lack documentation vaccination records. 

We must continue to demand that the shelter proactively promote adoptions and transfers to licensed rescue partners through the use of a shelter Facebook page that is currently prohibited by shelter management.

We must change the culture of how we help pet owners with pet retention programs, including programs that help struggling pet owners with assess to low cost spay/neuter and low cost vaccination programs. 

We must reach out to the pit bull community and seek real solutions that end our communities pet overpopulation issues that lead to far too many pit bulls being irresponsibly bred and killed by seeking breeder licensing laws that require all breeders to be licensed, pass a criminal background check, maintain a business license and to submit to yearly inspections by animal control.

We must provide low cost or even free spay/neuter for responsible pit bull owners to cut down on the number of pit bulls that end up at our shelter.  We must focus our enforcement protocols on those irresponsible pet owners who allow unaltered animals to roam by mandating spay/neuter for all pets picked up by animal control before allowing irresponsible owner's to reclaim these pets.

These are all the policy decisions that have been ignored under Laberge's regime as chair for our failed animal advisory council which speaks volumes for the need for serious change in how we go about offering responsible advise to our county commissioners.

We need YOUR voiced demanding that this cultural shift spirited by the responsible pet owners in Gwinnett continues as we move forward towards building a more humane community for our family pets.

You can follow the progress of Gwinnett's Animal Task Force on our blog - We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett which remains the only real voice for change for our community's homeless pets.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gwinnett's Animal Task Force Overview

With the announcement of Gwinnett's "Animal Task Force" a number of citizens have raised questions on what the purpose and objectives the task force would address.  Here is a brief overview.

Gwinnett County has instituted a process to identify and implement short and long term strategies that will improve quality of life and reduce the number of euthanized healthy or treatable pets.

Strategies will include programs which promote good behavior from pet owners ; evaluation the structure and policies of the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit ; promote collaboration between local agencies, non-profit organizations and citizens ; and strengthening of current enforcement tools and practices.

The Gwinnett Animal Task Force is created as part of an effort designed to develop and implement ideas and strategies which reduce the number of animals euthanized and promote responsible pet owner practices.  Objectives of the Task Force include:

Developing an Existing Conditions Report which will review all services Gwinnett County currently provides or promotes that address the care of animals.  This should include a review of Gwinnett County versus comparable peer agencies in the area of operations, administrative activities, animal care, adoption rates, and the investigation rates of animal neglect or cruelty;

Developing a Best Practices Report consisting of recommendations based, in part, on the Existing Conditions Report.  Recommendations will discuss organizational structure and service offerings that promote lifesaving programs including adoptions, fees, spay/neuter services, pet retention, and responsible pet ownership;

Developing recommendations on how to provide care to animals in the future that are currently, or which may become, the responsibility of the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center.  Recommendations may explore opportunities for efficiencies, which include, but are not limited to, partnerships, programs, recommended policies or other methods as identified in the Best Practices Report;

Creating a public relations campaign to encourage animal rescue, adoption, spay/neuter programs, and responsible pet ownership;

Recommending changes in current code and policies used to promote preservation of life, quality of life, and the humane treatment of animals.  During this process, issues determined to be long-term or outside the scope of this Task Force will be identified for further study; and

Recommending changes in the current organizational structure and/or mission of the Gwinnett County Animal Advisory Council.

Developing recommendations concerning the management of the Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center; including potential partnerships with private organizations or entities.

It is anticipated that during the approximate four-month period that Task Force members will assist Gwinnett County in implementing recommended modifications to the Gwinnett County Code of Ordinances and policies concerning animals, recommended organizational structure and activities for the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Unit, recommended organizational structure and activities of the Gwinnett County Animal Advisory Council, and/or initiating relationships determined to have an immediate impact on animal issues in Gwinnett County

We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett commend our county commissioners for establishing through the Task Force the expertise leadership needed to be the vehicle for changing our culture on animal welfare issues for years to come.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gwinnett's Animal Services Task Force

Gwinnett's Animal Task Force inched closer to becoming a quorum with the appointment of Jon Richards to represent District 3.  Thus far eight local citizens have been appointed to fill a panel.  Thus far the following positions have been filled:

Chairman Nash named Dr Wayne Wallis (2011-0698) as one of her Chairman's appointment - her appointment (2011-0699) has been tabled until the October 18th BOC meeting.

Commissioner Lasseter named Elizabeth Burger (2011-0700) to represent District 1 - her appointment (2011-0701) has been tabled until October 25th.

Commissioner Howard named Solveign Evans (2011-0701) to represent District 2 - her appointment (2011-0702) has been tabled until October 25th.

Commissioner Beaudreau has named Joel Taylor (2011-0704) and Jon Richards (2011-0705) to represent District 3. Joel Taylor will also serve as the Chairman for the Animal Services Task Force.

Commissioner Heard has named Wanda Johnson (2011-0707) and James Freeman (2011-0708) to represent District 4. Note; at the 9/20 BOC meeting Wanda Johnson was also appointed to represent Dog Rescue (2011-0711).

Also appointed, Angie Peevy (2011-0739) as Agricultural Representative.

In addition to commission appointments for Chairman Nash and Commissioners Howard and Lasseter the following appointments remain unfilled. These positions have been tabled until the October 18th BOC meeting. NOTE: Additionally there is a duplication in appointing Wanda Johnson to both represent both Commissioner Heard’s District and as Dog Rescue Representative.

Large Animal Representative (2011-0709)
Cat Rescue Representative ( (2011-0710)
Veterinarian Representative (2011-0712)
Animal Related Business Representative (2011-0741)
Gwinnett Municipal Association (2011-0742)

It is critically important that the position representing the cat rescue community is filled with an advocate experienced in TNR.  Likewise, the task force presents the dog rescue community with an opportunity to build the required partnerships in the rescue community that help transfer more pets to rescue.
We would encourage anyone interesting in volunteering to represent any of the still open positions to contact their commissioner.