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Guest column: Animal control’s culture shift
Carter Infinger
Carter Infinger is the current chairman of the Bryan County Commission.

Carter Infinger

Chairman Bryan County Commission

Bryan County Animal Control has undergone a culture shift in the past two years. The old version of the dogcatcher portrayed in cartoons has not been the norm for many years, but now more options than ever are available to keep dogs, cats, and the occasional bird or reptile out of shelters and in the care of responsible owners.

What most people that have not adopted recently will notice is that the adoption fee is now $125 for dogs and $75 for cats. On the surface this may just look like a fee increase, but this charge includes spay or neuter surgery, a microchip implant, and a rabies vaccine. If those pets adopted from the shelter do run away, then they are already spayed or neutered to prevent reproduction and microchipped to help us reunite them with their owner.

Even with the increase in fees, adoptions have drastically increased thanks to Animal Control’s outreach efforts. Adoption events in the community like the Puppy Bowl, Kitten Showers, and at Christmas festivals take adoptable pets outside the shelters and into the public. Not only do, the pets at those events have a higher chance of being adoption, but by raising awareness of the Bryan County shelters, others do as well. Additional events hosted by rescue groups such as Renegade Paws Rescue or Castaway’s Pet Rescue also help pets be adopted. These rescues will also take animals from the shelter to broaden the reach to other areas of the state. The online outreach has also improved. All of the adoptable pets can be found on Petfinder or Adopta- Pet. The Bryan County Animal Control Facebook and website page advertise adoptable pets, highlight those that have been able to adopt, and are a good resource for information.

All of these changes start with a staff that is well trained to care for pets by treating more potential medical issues inside the shelters and helping to prevent animal crimes, such as abuse, within the community. The staff of five responds to stray or abandoned dog and cat reports, dangerous pet calls, and more while maintaining the shelters in Richmond Hill and Pembroke, in addition to the community outreach events. Keep in mind that they do not respond to calls about wild animals.

The Department of Natural Resources should be called about non-pets.

Shelter staff is also reaching out for grants to improve the lives of animals that are in our shelters. Thanks to the Atlanta Humane Society’s capital improvement grant, the Richmond Hill shelter will be able to improve the fencing and the flooring in the kennel area. These improvements will help to prevent the spread of disease by making it easier to sanitize to decrease the transmission of disease.

If you would like to help an adoptable pet, then contact Animal Control by calling 912851-3817 in Richmond Hill or 912-653-3816 in Pembroke to make an appointment. If you would like to help by donating pet food or bedding, Bryan County has drop boxes located around the County. I’m excited to see a time when we have no animals in the shelters, and I thank you for allowing me to serve as your Chairman during this positive culture shift by Bryan County Animal Control.

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