Animal shelter says updated website may save animals' lives

by: Manuel Bojorquez Updated:

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - A volunteer at a Gwinnett County animal shelter fears outdated web information could be working against those looking to find the animals a home.

"It's wonderful webpage, but it's not updated as it needs to be on a daily basis," said Susan Ruelle, who volunteers at the Gwinnett County Animal Control facility in Lawrenceville.

She spoke to county commissioners this week hoping to bring attention to the issue.

Ruelle wanted to be clear; she believes Gwinnett County has the best animal shelter in the area.

"It's state-of-the-art. It's kept immaculate and so if an animal has to come through our doors, it's the best place it can possibly be," she said.

But she said that since the county's website is the only official way to showcase animals at the shelter, it should be updated daily.

For some animals, the exposure could mean the difference between a home and euthanasia.

The delay, Ruelle said, can also cause confusion for those looking to save an animal.

"We have people that will actually print out the picture on the website and come and go like this, 'I want this dog' or 'I want this cat'. And we'll look it up and say, 'I'm sorry but that animal is no longer here'," Ruelle said.

Corporal Jake Smith with the Gwinnett County Police Department, which oversees the county's Animal Control unit, said he's recently heard the concerns.

"As it stands now, the management here is aware of the fact the website is not updated as often as it could be, or should be," Smith said.

He said while the information is never more than a few days old, it's difficult for the one person managing the department's website to handle the constant updates in addition to the large amount of police information.

And since it is a government website, the department must carefully monitor who can make changes.

Smith said the county is working to develop a social networking component that will help bring the information up to speed.

"Social media for our department is on the horizon, which I think will be a great tool in terms of getting all kinds of information in the hands of the public," he said.

Some of the new social formats will be rolled out next month.

"The more animals we can get adopted, the better," Smith said.

In the meantime, Ruelle and some other volunteers have launched an unofficial Facebook page for the shelter which they can update on their own. It's called "Helping Animals at Gwinnett County Shelter".
http://bcove.me/qzsrpfu6



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