Gwinnett animal shelter gets $50K grant to help owners keep pets

Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement will receive a $50,000 grant from a national group in order to create a program designed to keep more people and their pets together.

The grant from Best Friends Animal Society will be given to the county shelter in a ceremony on Aug. 30.

The new community outreach program is designed to work with Gwinnett residents to prevent pets from entering the shelter system.

Under the new program, the shelter will reach out to assist pet owners who may not have had easy access to veterinary care or other animal services. This can take the form of free supplies and vet visits, according to a press release. The program is anticipated to start Nov. 9.

The shelter has seen an increased number of animals coming into its care this year, with an average of 583 animals per month. That is 66 more than the monthly average intake in 2018, said Tina Fleming, director of the Gwinnett County Department of Community Services, in a Tuesday budget presentation.

By working with pet owners in Gwinnett on maintaining animal health and personal connections, the shelter sees a new way to keep pets in homes they already have. The shelter will use the grant to work with pet owners in Norcross, Lawrenceville and Snellville, identified by Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Manager Alan Davis as the cities most animals at the shelter come from.

The shelter is in the process of expanding, adding 100 new dog kennels and 60 new cat kennels in a renovation project, Fleming said. Those new kennels will help keep the shelter from reaching capacity during the high volume spring and summer months, as it did multiple times in 2017 and 2018.

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is not a no-kill shelter, but it has the highest “save rate” in the state, according to Best Friends Animal Society. The shelter took in 6,321 animals in 2018 and adopted out 6,189 — nearly 98%.

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