While the 20 dogs slated for euthanasia will get their freedom rides, Turnipseed said the facilities received 20 new animals over the same two-day span, and she reiterated the need for animal lovers and rescue groups to continue stepping up.
Officials said they’ve seen a deluge of pets adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic returned by their owners, many of whom sought companionship when they were out of work or had to work remotely.
“Now, people are finally going back to work and not having time for the animals,” Turnipseed said. “So we’re having this huge influx of animals that we didn’t have before.”
Without additional help from the community, the shelters’ 3% euthanasia rate is likely to increase.
Officials said some of the dogs that faced being put down this week have been at the shelters for extended periods, while others have special needs that could no longer be accommodated. A few were at great risk of becoming ill, according to animal control.
The county said it regularly asks rescuers for help with their most urgent cases, putting out a weekly list of dogs that have been at animal control facilities the longest. This week, Clayton set a hard deadline of 1 p.m. Thursday for the 20 dogs on the urgent list.
By Tuesday, there were commitments to save six of the dogs. An additional eight were checked off as “safe” as of 12:45 p.m. Thursday, and a statement issued by Turnipseed later that afternoon indicated all 20 dogs on the list had been spared, and then some.
“These animals are constantly being released by their owners to roam the streets freely, failing to have them spayed or neutered, thus allowing them to breed freely and over populate our communities unnecessarily,” she said in the statement. “We urgently need owners to step up and take responsibility for their pets. They are your four-legged children for the remainder of their lives, not (to be) discarded when they get sick, injured or (when you) no longer have time for them.”