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Pets find shelter at the Atlanta Humane Society

“The number of dogs and cats euthanized each year in shelters is an estimated 3 to 4 million and 2.7 million healthy shelter pets are not adopted each year. Only about 30 percent of pets in homes come from shelters or rescues.” – The Humane Society of the United States

In animal shelters around the world, a populace of dogs and cats are left without a home. At the Atlanta Humane Society, employees strive to better pet homelessness and provide animals a home.

Visitors of the Atlanta Humane Society are allowed to hold a mix of puppies like the labrador puppy pictured here. Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal

“Basically our goal is to help end animal homelessness,” Wendy Hsiao, the Public Relations & Digital Specialist, said.

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“We try to help anyone in the southeast. We are one of the largest shelters and remain number one in the southeast. Our main goal is to just help as many animals as we can.”

At the Atlanta Humane Society, there is typically a good turnout rate for getting animals adopted.

“Typically 8,000 animals in and according to last year, 7,400 were adopted out,” Hsiao said.
Some pets seen in the Humane Society are not as fortunate to get adopted. When perusing the facility, there are

“Forget Me Not” stickers on respective dogs’ windows.

“The ‘Forget Me Nots’ are when an animal has been here longer than six months. Fortunately we don’t have a lot of those,” Hsiao said.

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Puppies and kittens get adopted the most frequently at the Atlanta Humane Society. As is the history of animal shelters, a controversial issue is the euthanization of animals. While the numbers have gone down over the years, institutions like the Humane Society make a point to be strict when dealing with an animal’s life.

“We get asked frequently about putting animals down and we won’t do it unless there is a behavioral issue or they are too sick where we can’t do anything,” Hsiao said. “Fortunately, the cases where we have to put an animal down averages around 3 percent a year.”

Due to the stigma of animal shelters and their perceived environment, not everyone is aware that they are encouraged to visit, according to Hsiao.

“People are often surprised it’s so clean and happy here that the dogs and cats are taken very well care of,” Hsiao said. “When people think of animal shelters, they think of run down, dirty and scary places where there are stacks and stacks of cages.”

Recently, the Atlanta Humane Society had a special deal with Uber where instead of taking a ride with them, two puppies would be transported to you by them to pet and play with for up to 15 minutes.

“We basically broke Uber that day,” Hsiao said.

The Atlanta Humane Society offers a wide array of breeds for potential pet owners, including two labrador retrievers awaiting adoption. Photos by Jade Johnson | The Signal

The Atlanta Humane Society a welcoming and warm environment for both hopeful pets and visitors. If interested, anyone can walk into the locale and embrace the pets. As long as they wash their hands between each animal, they can take one out and pet it. If it’s four months or older, there is a play room to spend time with the animal.

“We have people who just during their lunch break will come in to get away from work, spend an hour and then leave,” Hsiao said. “Almost daily, we have regulars.”

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“April 16, where you go out and eat at one of the restaurants that supports us,” Hsiao said. Twenty percent of proceeds at each restaurant goes into the Humane Society.

Bark in the Park
“It will be in May, where you bring your dog to the Braves game and buy a Budweiser,” Hsiao said. For each Budweiser that is sold, $1 is given back.

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“We used to do a pet parade and now, we are trying to make it more serious and do real change,” Hsiao said. As of now, all that has been decided is that the parade will be in the fall.


Maggie, a terrier blend, plays with Lamar Forest, an Atlanta Humane Society staff member. Photos by Jade Johnson | The Signal

There are two sites for the Atlanta Humane Society, one located on Howell Mill Road and the other on Mansell Road.

The main difference between the two locations is that the Mansell Road place does not have the clinic services. At the locations, the main members of the Atlanta Humane Society commute back and forth.

Animal Admission: Once the policy has been followed, found on the site, if you cannot care for a cat or dog anymore, the Atlanta Humane Society may be able to take it in.

Low Cost Spay and Neuter: All of the surgeries performed are just $35 and include a complimentary microchip and rabies vaccination if necessary.

“Not a lot of people know we spay and neuter and it is given by us at a very low cost,” Hsiao said.

Pet Training Courses: Trainings fall under basic and intermediate obedience classes, first aid, CPR and pet trick classes.

Pet Boutique: Toys, food, crates, cleaning supplies, leashes, collars, shampoos, clean-up supplies and games are offered at the location. All proceeds go towards the Atlanta Humane Society.

H.E.A.R.T Animal Rescue: “We have a mobile clinic that goes around to the smaller cities and counties that need extra help,” Hsiao said.

Through H.E.A.R.T, they help animals in disasters, puppy mills, hoarding cases and dog fighting raids.

Put your paws in

Photos by Jade Johnson | The Signal

If you are an advocate for cats or dogs, the Atlanta Humane Society relies fairly heavily on help from volunteers. To participate, it depends on which location you are applying for.
No matter where you are, registration is required and can be done on the Atlanta Humane Society website.

Howell Mill Campus
Attend their Volunteer Training session. You will receive detailed information about handling animals and the general procedures and policies of the organization. A fee is required to cover the cost of training supplies such as t-shirts, aprons and the leashes. Trainings are held on predetermined dates. Expectations for a volunteer at the Howell Mill campus is a minimum of five hours per month for at least six months.
Mansell Campus
After a similar process to the Howell Mill campus, also included is a completion of a questionnaire and a short interview with each prospective volunteer. If accepted, you will be required to complete 16 hours of volunteer service before mentoring for your preferred placement. Volunteers at the Mansell campus are held to a six-hour volunteering minimum per month to stay active.

Caregivers Club

“The Caregivers Club is $19 a month, so $228 for the year. When you sign up to be a ‘caregiver,’ you are helping fund services that the animals need,” Hsiao said. “People are always curious to where there money is actually going, what real impact it has.”

  • $20 provides rabies vaccination
  • $25 will microchip one animal.
  • $37 provides one day of shelter care.
  • $50 provides annual heartworm prevention.
  • $65 provides a warm bed and blanket for a senior animal.
  • $100 provides annual flea and tick prevention.
  • $150 provides a kennel lock to keep the animals safe.
  • $250 will spay and neuter three animals.
  • $550 provides the care to prepare an animal for adoption.

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