Metro animal shelters at crisis levels, overrun with pets that need to be adopted

ATLANTA — Animal shelters across metro Atlanta are in a crisis. They are overrun with pets, some of which have been there for more than a year.

In fact, LifeLine Animal Project Placement Manager Lane Johnson told Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez that adoptions are down 30% nationwide.

One reason may be inflation when it comes to the cost of living.

“People can’t find housing, they can’t find housing that allows pets, and they also can’t afford to keep the pets they have,” Johnson said.

At DeKalb County Animal Services, there are more than 500 dogs. Some of them are living in office space and temporary kennels placed in what was once a conference room.


The dogs do get a break during the day when workers clean and sanitize the living space. They also get help from shelter volunteers, some of whom walk 20-30 dogs in a day.

Estevez got to spend some time with a pit bull mix named Jake. Employees said he, like many dogs there, show signs they were once in a loving home.

“He’s house-trained because he did wait to come outside to use the restroom. He knows commands. Someone took their time to love him at some point and he’s just waiting for someone to come love him again,” shelter employee MonaLisa Descene said.

Even if you cannot give a dog or cat a “forever home,” there are ways to help including programs like “Dog for a Day,” which allows people to take a dog out to meet people, get exposure, and get out of the kennels.

“Weekend Warrior” allows visitors to take a dog home for two to three days. There are also different long and short-term foster options.