ATLANTA - A local group is slashing the euthanasia count and giving thousands more animals a chance for adoption.
Lifeline Animal Services took over the Fulton County animal shelter in 2012, when almost 6,000 animals were euthanized. Last year, less than 1,000 animals were put down.
“Since November, our Fulton County animal shelter has been no-kill. This is a first for metro Atlanta of any open intake shelter,” said Karen Hirsch, with Lifeline.
The group says it’s putting down only critically injured or aggressive animals, which is less than 5 percent of the animals it takes in.
“Our animal control officers are no longer dog catchers. (They) go out in the community to try to help people with their animals (and) try to educate, get people to keep their animals,” Hirsch said.
Lifeline says they aggressively match pets with foster homes and specialized rescue groups.
The group sometimes offers flea medicine, food or vet services in order to encourage people to keep their pets.
Workers on animal control calls check dogs for microchips on the spot, so they can take a stray home right away.
The group says another program that works is its “Dog for a Day” program. Potential pet owners can check out a dog and make sure it’s a good fit for their families.
"When we hit the no-kill mark, it's just an amazing feeling. We couldn't put into words who happy it made us because that's animals that we're saving," said Breia Milde, with Lifeline.
Lifeline says it is also making progress at the DeKalb County animal shelter.