Emergency Status

Due to the critical levels of animals in the shelter, the county has enacted emergency protocols to help prioritize both the safety of our community and the welfare of the animals in our care.

These protocols are temporary and will be evaluated every two weeks.

1. The animal shelter will be temporarily closed to the public on Wednesdays. The current number of animals in the shelter is exceedingly high and more animals arrive every day. We need to close one day each week to better manage the growing influx of animals and allow more time to care for the animals already in the shelter. Our staff and volunteers will still be in the shelter on Wednesdays caring for the animals and will also be completing training and working to build strategies to save lives.

2. In order to focus on the most critical situations, and to maximize limited resources, starting Saturday, April 23rd, Fulton County Animal Services officers will be responding to only the highest priority calls on the weekends. Our priority is to keep our community safe and help the animals that are in critical condition and most in need. Officers will handle non-emergency calls for service during regular business hours, Monday – Friday.

3. In addition, the shelter is only able to take in animals in emergency situations or in critical need as we are out of space to house newly arriving animals. With the number of animals in our shelters at an all time high, we would like to remind the community to come to the county shelters if they have lost a pet.  We are also asking that if you find a lost pet, please take 48 hours and a few quick steps to help that pet find their way back home first instead of bringing them to the shelter immediately. Here is a resource page to help reunite pets with their families: LifeLineAnimal.org/found-pets

FAQs

The high intake we’ve been experiencing has been unprecedented for the time of year and historically, even more animals arrive in the summer. The shelter is over capacity now and we are out of space for new arrivals. We need to close one day each week to better manage the growing influx of animals and allow more time to care for the animals already in the shelter. 

If you have lost a pet, please come to the shelter during our open business hours. Here are the steps you can take to find your lost pet: LifeLineAnimal.org/lost-pets.  

If you have found a pet, we are asking our community to please take 48 hours to help healthy, lost pets find their way back home instead of bringing them to the shelter. Many tips and resources can be found at LifeLineAnimal.org/found-pets

We ask that if you are able to safely keep the animal for just 48 hours, please do so. Knock on your neighbors’ doors to see if they are missing a pet, take a quick picture and post the found pet on your social media networks including Nextdoor. You can also hang flyers near the area where you found the pet and use our toolkit here: LifeLineAnimal.org/found-pets

If the animal is in found in critical condition on a Wednesday, call Animal Services or bring to the shelter for support.

Please follow the steps in the kitten flowchart on our found pets page. A kitten’s best chance of survival is with their mom. If you find healthy kittens outside, please wait for their mom to return. Find more helpful information here.

Our staff and volunteers will be in the shelter seven days a week caring for the animals.

Fulton County Animal Services Officers will respond to all emergency situations and calls for service.

In order to focus on the most critical situations and to maximize limited resources, starting Saturday, April 23rd, Fulton County Animal Services officers will be responding to only the highest priority calls on the weekends. Priority calls include: dog attacks, police/fire assists, injured animals, and animal cruelty complaints. Our goal is to keep our community safe and help the animals that are in critical condition and most in need. Officers will handle non-emergency services during regular business hours, Monday – Friday.

Wednesdays are normally a very slow day for adoptions. Our team will continue to work to find foster homes and send animals to rescue group partners on Wednesdays. We are closing one day each week to better care for the current population and increase positive outcomes overall.

This is a temporary measure for an extraordinary time. We will re-evaluate the situation every two weeks and will keep everyone informed.

Similar to when we close for a holiday, we don’t see an increase in animals abandoned. The majority of people who visit the shelter to surrender are not in emergency situations so we don’t see a greater risk for animals to be abandoned. Many people reach out online before visiting, and we have a number of resources to help our community assist lost pets or pets in need of a new home. 

For anyone needing to surrender a pet, we can still make surrender appointments on Wednesdays on a case-by-case basis and staff will be working in the shelter on these days to help with any critical situations. The goal of these emergency procedures is to better care for the animals and the community and that will still be the case with these changes.

Like many shelters, businesses, and organizations across the nation, we are experiencing a staffing shortage. We have many positions open currently and are interviewing people daily. If you are interested in helping animals, please consider volunteering or applying for one of the many wonderful opportunities to join our team.

Only 24% of lost animals brought into the shelter are reunited with their families. Taking a dog directly to the shelter reduces their chance of being reunited with their family, and decreases even further the farther away the shelter is from their home. But when a pet stays in their neighborhood, that return rate jumps to almost 70%.

Of all lost animals returned to their homes, 65% were found less than a mile from their home. Nearly a quarter of dogs were only one block away from home. In order to help more animals, we believe the best chance of them finding their family is with the good samaritan that found them. If you find a lost dog, chances are their home is right around the corner. Please post a picture of the found pet to your community social media pages. For other resources on how to get that pet back home visit: LifeLineAnimal.org/found-pets

Sick and injured animals who can’t be reunited with their owners in the neighborhood where they were found will be routed to the shelter for treatment and care. Visibly sick or injured pets are considered critical and you can call Animal Services for assistance. If the owner is still not found during or after treatment, the pet will either be kept in the shelter, adopted or placed in a foster home.

We continue to perform all our animal services responsibilities, including picking up lost pets that are injured or in critical condition. We always try to do what’s best for the pet and their family first. If it’s what’s best for the pet and they have no other option, we will pick up the pet, and take them into the shelter.

What’s new is that we are offering and encouraging alternatives to animals entering the shelter by providing support and resources that will help keep pets in their homes and communities. In the case of lost pets, that means our primary goal is to reunite lost pets with their families.

We now encourage and support anyone who finds a lost pet to hold onto them for 48 hours, because data shows this vastly increases the chances of the pet being reunited with their family. LifeLine will provide food, supplies, and support as needed to those who hold a found pet.

These changes are very important because most lost pets aren’t very far from home. One animal shelter found 85% of lost pets held by their finders for 48 hours were returned home. Only 26% of pets taken directly to the shelter had that same outcome. A 2020 study out of Dallas found nearly half of stray dogs were a mere 400 feet from home and almost all were within a mile of their houses.

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