For all the well meaning solutions offered to help reduce the senseless
slaughter of a communities homeless pets there is nothing like a welcome
infusion of cash that can be directed at spay/neutering pets in the
community. Historically, communities with proactive spay/neuter programs
that are available to local pet owners are able to stem the growth of dogs and
cats that would typically end up in the county shelter.
Hall County is located Northeast of Atlanta and like most growing
communities in the Atlanta area it too is experiencing an unwanted growth of
dogs and cats who are being put to death in the county shelter. The Hall
County commissioners should be complimented for having the insight and wisdom to
invest in spay/neutering rather than simply watching the county's animal control
costs skyrocket upwards with the number of innocent pets who are killed as
This gives new meaning to the saying "It Pays to Spay/Neuter".
Hall gives $200,000 to fund spay
By DEBBIE GILBERT - The
Scott Rogers The Times
Hall County Commission Chairman Gary Gibbs gets a hug from Rick Aiken,
right, Executive Director for the Hall County Humane Society, after Gibbs
presented a $200,000 check from the Commission to start a spay and neuter clinic
at the Humane Society. Others present were Humane Society board members Robbie
Robison, left, Don Harrison, left center, Board President Ron Christopher, and
the Humane Society staff.
Hall County Commission's chairman presented the
Humane Society of Hall County $200,000 Friday to start a low-cost spay/neuter
"This will save taxpayers' money by reducing the number of
unwanted animals we have to pick up off the street," said Gary Gibbs, who made a
motion to establish the clinic at Thursday's board meeting. The measure passed
More than 8,800 dogs and cats had to be euthanized by
shelter employees last year because there were no homes for
Society director Rick Aiken had hoped to fund the clinic
through a pet license fee, but the commission declined to pass an ordinance last
year. So the society decided to raise the money through private donations
Gibbs said after a story about the proposed clinic
appeared in The Times on Sunday, commissioners realized they might be able to
"It didn't occur to us until this week that we had some extra
money available," he said. "The $200,000 comes out of the county's capital
improvements program, mostly from funds for an agriculture center project that
we didn't spend."
Aiken said he was "shocked" when Gibbs called
him. "We didn't think there was an opportunity for funding because the county
has so many other priorities."
The appropriation will allow the
county to hire a full-time veterinarian who does nothing but spay and neuter
surgeries. All animals purchased at the humane society will be sterilized before
they are adopted. The service also will be available to low-income residents who
could not otherwise afford to have their pets spayed.
to open the clinic within the society's West Ridge Road building by the end of
the year. But the fund-raising effort will continue. "Once we get this
established, we're going to need a separate building for the clinic," he
Gibbs said the commission is considering enacting a pet
license fee to pay for the clinic's ongoing operational expenses. But
commissioners want the fee to be the same for everyone. Under the original
proposal, people with unspayed animals would have had to pay five times more
than those whose pets had been sterilized.
"We believe if we make
it a level playing field, the idea of pet licensing will be much more palatable
to Hall residents," Gibbs said.
Aiken said he would still prefer
what's known as "differential pet registration." But for now, he's just happy to
be able to get the clinic started.
"We're all so excited," he said.
"It's something we've been working toward for so long. I didn't hardly get any
sleep last night."
Originally published Saturday, August