“Rescue-wise we’re about 170 over where we were last year and we’re forecasted to save at least 200 more lives this year than we did last year,” Etowah Valley Humane Society Director Bryan Canty said. “Adoption-wise we’ll finish slightly behind where we were last year. [Overall], we saved 727 [through adoptions] last year and 796 in rescues last year. I’m very pleased with the rescue numbers. Those are statistics that shelters much larger than ours typically put up. It’s almost unheard of for one our size in a county this size to save so many via rescues. ... That’s another avenue of getting the animals into facilities that can find forever homes for them.
“If we’re not able to do it directly, then we certainly work interdependently with other shelters to place the animals because in some areas they just don’t have the abundance of animals ... [and] they can also reach people in other areas that we’re not able to contact directly. Road Trip Home is actually a wing of EVHS. They are an interstate transport arm. It is [a part of our pet rescue program] because they will then transport them to other shelters in other areas of the country. So their responsibility is to transport them out of state because of the whole list of Department of Agriculture regulations that have to be followed when you send them across state lines.”
For EVHS Rescue Coordinator Jan Granai, trying to provide a safe haven for unwanted dogs and cats — that she has formed a bond with — is a heartwarming and heartbreaking experience.
“I’ve put in probably 80 or more hours a week on trying to find places for these animals to go and because I spend so much time with the ones that we can’t bring over [to the shelter], it becomes very personal for me. I’ll get to know every single one of the animals down there,” Granai said about those housed at Bartow County Animal Control. “I’m there on Monday afternoon and I know who’s getting out and who’s not and it’s tough. So I spend a lot of time on it. And I have had some great partnerships with people that I’ve developed over my rescue page on Facebook and I’ve got a very dedicated team that [has] helped me get the word out about these animals. ... I encourage [the rescue organizations] to share photos of the dogs that they had gotten from here [to find out] whether they’re still in rescue or whether they’ve been adopted.
“And it just does you a world of good to see the difference in these dogs and in the cats. In fact, I’ve got a rescue coming in anytime right now to pick up eight, 6-week-old puppies that we couldn’t take in and a rescue organization stepped up and they’re going to a foster home. Then they’ll be going to, I think, New Jersey and it is very heartwarming. And, of course, on the opposite hand it is extremely heartbreaking on Monday afternoon when I’ve gotten a bond down there and know that I can’t, despite all my efforts, get them out.”
Determined to save more than 1,000 animals through pet rescues, Granai works with various licensed state rescue organizations, and some out-of-state groups. To support the EVHS’ efforts, people are encouraged to foster or financially sponsor cats or dogs that are in the process of being rescued. Most of all, Granai wishes area residents would help solve the problem of pet overpopulation in Bartow, by being responsible pet owners and spaying and neutering their animals.
“[Before this], I knew that there was a pet overpopulation and I knew that animals were euthanized but I never had a clue,” she said. “I used to be one of those people who was angry at Animal Control and I didn’t realize how many come in, day after day after day.
“What I keep telling people now is I can do my job. I can do 10,000 times better at my job and we could save 20 times more animals but until people start spaying and neutering, all we’re doing is putting our finger on a dike. It’s never going to stop. So that’s the big key is for people to spay and neuter. Then we won’t have near the animals coming in.”
Opened in 2006, EVHS’ 4,928-square-foot shelter at 36 Ladd’s Mountain Road costs about $240,000 per year to manage. The shelter consists of two staff offices, a quarantine room, two visitation rooms, 14 temperature-controlled kennel runs, a cat room with 24 cages and a puppy room with 22 cages.
For more information about pet adoptions or rescues, call 770-383-3338 or visit the nonprofit’s Facebook page or website, www.etowahvalleyhumane.org/. To view photographs of EVHS’ animals, see Page 8B in today’s Daily Tribune News.