Metro county to spend millions to tackle overcrowding problems at its animal shelter

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County plans to spend $10 million to decrease overcrowding in its animal shelter.

The county said its comprehensive strategy includes reducing the number of pets released into the community or brought to the animal shelter.

“Residents who lack the financial resources to properly care for their pets are fueling the overcrowding crisis at our animal shelter,” CEO Michael Thurmond said.

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Part of the county’s plan includes helping families keep pets in their homes and encourage the spaying and neutering of pets.

DeKalb commissioners approved in September to allocate $1.6 million for an overflow facility for the animal shelter and $600,000 toward the Lifeline Animal Project for staffing. They also approved $200,000 toward programs to encourage more foster homes for animals, $144,000 for a mobile veterinarian clinic and $25,000 for community outreach for the shelter expansion.

The county strategy also includes a $7.5 million proposed allocation that would be funded by a special purpose local option sales tax. Voters would have to approve the SPLOST in November.


Channel 2 Action News has reported for years on the overcrowding issues at the county’s animal shelter.

Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco obtained records last month that show inspectors have been to the DeKalb County shelter 56 times since Jan. 2022.

Officials from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and DeKalb County met for a compliance conference in Feb. 2023.

By March, DeKalb County sent a letter to the department outlining steps the DeKalb County Animal Services would take to improve shelter conditions. Part of the plan included solutions for better intake management to eliminate issues due to overcrowding.

In July, the shelter announced a crisis. Officials said that kennels were so crowded that staff had decided to start euthanizing healthy dogs for the first time in a decade.

If you are interested in adopting or fostering an animal, more information can be found here.

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