Hall County GA Donates $200,000 To Fund Spay/Neuter Clinic
- 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 well.This gives new meaning to the saying "It Pays to Spay/Neuter".Hall gives $200,000 to fund spay clinic
By DEBBIE GILBERT - The Times
Scott Rogers The TimesHall 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 clinic.
"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 unanimously.
More than 8,800 dogs and cats had to be euthanized by shelter employees last year because there were no homes for them.
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 instead.
Gibbs said after a story about the proposed clinic appeared in The Times on Sunday, commissioners realized they might be able to help.
"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.
Aiken plans 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 said.
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 28, 2004
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