Editor’s note: The author of this story is also an occasional volunteer at LifeLine.
By Heather Karellas, contributor
Earlier this month, Fulton County firefighters discovered 91 dogs while attending to a house fire in south Fulton County. The dogs, which were discovered alongside feces and urine, were part of a suspected hoarding situation. Local law mandated that the dogs were to be sent to animal control, and from there, they went to LifeLine Animal Project.
A nonprofit that has served the metro Atlanta area for more than fifteen years, LifeLine cares for nearly 30,000 animals each year. The organization has managed Fulton County Animal Services and the DeKalb County Animal Services shelter since 2013, with the goal of ending the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in metro Atlanta shelters. In 2016, the shelters received more than 40 animals per day.
Since taking over Fulton County and DeKalb County Animal Services, LifeLine has increased adoption rates by 300 percent. Their success is due in part to a community-driven approach to animal rescue, care, and adoption. For example, at their two spay and neuter clinics (one in Avondale Estates and one in College Park), LifeLine has fixed more than 105,000 dogs and cats at low-cost or no cost to pet owners who may not have been able to otherwise afford the procedure. They also operate metro Atlanta’s first and largest trap-neuter-return program for feral cats; the Community Cat program has provided procedures for nearly 40,000 such cats. LifeLine also hosts community “pet wellness days” each year, during which they provide free vaccinations, pet food, and other resources to thousands of pet owners.
When the 91 rescued dogs came to LifeLine, the organization immediately put out a call to their community for help. The organization’s first priority was to find temporary foster homes for some of their longer-term shelter dogs, in order to make room for the influx of newly rescued dogs in need of care.
LifeLine found temporary foster homes for 69 of their long-termers. In fact, some of the foster parents were so charmed by their new house guests that five of these dogs have already been adopted by the people who “temporarily” took them in. Another seven foster parents committed to fostering the dogs over the long term.
As for the 91 rescued dogs, 30 have gone to other rescue groups, while another 25 are scheduled to leave for other rescue groups over the next week. Lifeline Public Relations Director Karen Hirsch said that the remaining dogs “…are beginning to come out of their shells and will eventually be up for adoption.”
In the aftermath of such a large rescue case, many community members and LifeLine supporters proactively contacted the organization to ask how they could help. LifeLine had just received a matching gift challenge from their Board Chair, Anisa Telwar Kaicker, along with her team at Anisa International.
For the sixth consecutive year, Anisa will match every dollar donated to LifeLine through December 31, 2017 – up to $50,000. Anisa International is a locally-owned company and that designs and creates things like makeup brushes, brush cleaners, and storage solutions.
“Our involvement with LifeLine Animal Project is something that is very near and dear to my heart and I’m proud to continue our support by matching their holiday donations,” Kaicker said. “I encourage all Atlantans and animal lovers to consider giving back to this incredible organization this holiday season.”
Readers who are interested in participating in LifeLine’s holiday matching gift challenge can do so by clicking here.