CACC sees increase in number of animals euthanized, asking community to adopt

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 9:25 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM)- There’s been an uptick in animals being euthanized at the Columbus Animal Care and Control Center in 2023.

The Columbus Animal Care and Control was a no-kill shelter for some years, starting in 2019, with local rescues taking in dogs who were not being adopted out.

Columbus native, Canita Harnette-Johnson, took over the top role of division manager of the Columbus Animal and Control Center in February 2023. She said she had no background in animal welfare, but the city hired her for her business experience.

Harnette-Johnson said she has three focuses, educating the community on spaying and neutering your pets, having them microchipped, and rescuing from the shelter.

“I’m working with my team vigorously on coming up with programs and opportunities for our community to lessen the intake so that we can lessen the number of animals that are having to be put down through euthanization,” she said.

CACC’s records show that the highest rate of animals euthanized in the shelter in 2022 was 16% of cat and dog intake in August—with a total of 358 animals being brought to the shelter or captured by workers. This is compared to July 2023 with 20% of cats and dogs euthanized with a total intake of 446 pets.

“We have seen an increase in having to euthanize, but with that comes the number of animals we’ve seen come through the door. As of right now, we’re seeing an average of 20.5 animals coming in per day day. This facility only holds 52,” Harnette-Johnson said.

Johnson said families adopting pets during the pandemic and also the economy is causing more pet owners to surrender. Two women heavily involved in the volunteer community felt more can be done.

“They just need to do a lot of different things. I believe the person over public works, Drell Short, had stated that the Community has grown, Columbus has expanded. With Columbus expanding most businesses would also expand,” a former volunteer with CACC, Angel Palmer, said.

“In February, four dogs were killed for space. In March, 24 dogs were killed for space, and intake actually went slightly down that month. Then, those higher numbers have continued and just gained momentum every month since. So, that’s really concerning to me just this dramatic uptick in the number of dogs being killed for space that can’t be explained solely by well we have a higher intake,” a foster for CACC, Allie Johnson, said.

Johnson explained she is working to improve CACC’s website by posting more pictures of surrendered dogs, and the city is working to purchase a trailer to transport dogs to more adoption events.

“If we need space, we have to have to make space. We’re hopeful that our citizens play a role in that by adopting or our rescue partners come in and are able to take those animals, but in the event that none of that is possible, we have to make the hard decision of euthanizing,” Harnette-Johnson said.

The Columbus Animal Care and Control is hosting a doggy adoption and pool day at Double Churches Pool off Double Churches Road on Saturday, August 12. Harenette-Jonson encourages everyone to rescue and volunteer if you feel it in your heart.